The 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which queried 25,000 students in grades 6 through 12, found that:
- Among high school students, e-cigarette use increased to 2.8% in 2012, from 1.5% in 2011
- Among middle school students, e-cigarette use increased to 1.1% in 2012, from 0.6% in 2011
- Among high school students, hookah usage increased to 5.4% in 2012, from 4.1% in 2011
- Among black high school students, cigar use — including flavored little cigars, or cigarillos, which contain candy or fruit flavorings and look similar to cigarettes — increased to 16.7% in 2012, from 11.7% in 2011
The rise in the use of e-cigarettes and hookahs may be due to an increase in marketing, availability and visibility of these products, plus the perception they may be safer than regular cigarettes, according to the CDC.
E-cigarettes, hookahs and cigars are not subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, the agency is expected to issue rules to tighten regulation of e-cigarettes and other non-cigarette nicotine products in the future.
CDC researchers recommend the additional measures of: increasing the products’ price, using media campaigns to discourage smoking, increasing access to services to help people quit, and enforcing restrictions on promotion and advertising.
“We need effective action to protect our kids from addiction to nicotine,” Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, said in a news release. ”This report raises a red flag about newer tobacco products. Cigars and hookah tobacco are smoked tobacco – addictive and deadly. We need effective action to protect our kids from addiction to nicotine.”