E-cigarettes are now the most widely used tobacco product among teens, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). E-cigarette use rose among middle school and high school students from 2011 to 2015, the report found.
Three million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2015, an increase of 2.5 percent from the previous year. Among high school students, e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 16 percent, according to the report. Among middle school students, e-cigarette use increased from 0.6 percent to 5.3 percent during that period.
Overall, use of tobacco products by teens has not fallen since 2011, HealthDay reports. One-fourth of high school students use tobacco products. “E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, and use continues to climb,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a news release. “No form of youth tobacco use is safe. Nicotine is an addictive drug, and use during adolescence may cause lasting harm to brain development.”
In 2015, the CDC found 4.7 million middle and high school students said they used a tobacco product at least once in the previous month. More than 2.3 million teens used two or more tobacco products.
There was no change in cigarette smoking among teens between 2014 and 2015, the report found. Nine percent of high school students and 2 percent of middle school students smoked cigarettes in 2015. The CDC found other tobacco products used by high school students last year included cigars (8.6 percent); hookahs (7 percent); smokeless tobacco (6 percent); and bidis (0.6 percent).
The Food and Drug Administration is finalizing a rule to regulate tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, hookahs and some or all cigars. “The FDA remains deeply concerned about the overall high rate at which children and adolescents use tobacco products, including novel products such as e-cigarettes and hookah,” said Mitch Zeller, Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.