HealthDay News — The impact of electronic cigarettes on those who use them is still unknown, but one thing is clear — their popularity among U.S. youths has doubled in recent years, according to the CDC.
From 2011 to 2012, the percentage of children in grades six through 12 who had ever used e-cigarettes increased from from 3.3% to 6.8% and current use also increased nearly two-fold, from 1.1% to 2.1%, Catherine Corey, MSPH, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Among current teen e-cigarette users in 2012, more than three-quarters (76.3%), reported also smoking conventional cigarettes. Estimated were based the results of the 2011 and 2012 school-based National Youth Tobacco Survey.
“Given the rapid increase in use and youths’ susceptibility to social and environmental influences to use tobacco, developing strategies to prevent marketing, sales, and use of e-cigarettes among youths is critical,” the researchers wrote.
E-cigarettes are electronic devices that deliver a flavored nicotine-laced vapor for inhalation. They are not supposed to be sold to minors or marketed for therapeutic purposes, but are otherwise much less tightly regulated than cigarettes.
The FDA is currently developing regulations expected to increase restrictions on their marketing and sale. The agency had tried to pull e-cigarettes from the market several years ago as “unapproved drug/device combination products,” but a federal appeals struck down the move.