E-cigarette smoking is getting worse among teens as the rate jumped by 1,000 percent between 2011 and 2015, says a new CDC report.
In a newly released weekly report on morbidity and mortality by Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) on April 15, at least 4.7 million teens attending middle and high school are current smokers or have used a tobacco product over the last 30 days.
Although cigarette smoking among the youth has decreased over the last four years, nothing much has changed with overall tobacco use from 2014 to 2015 due to e-cigarette smoking.
Sixteen percent of high school students these days now smoke e-cigarettes, a far cry from 1.5 percent in 2011. At least 5.3 percent of middle schoolers have also become fans of vapes, a hair-raising climb from a measly 0.6 percent about four years ago.
E-cigarettes or vapes had also overtaken cigarettes as the preferred tobacco product among the group in 2015, although regular cigarettes still occupy the second spot. The same CDC report also suggests that more than half of these teens also prefer to smoke two or more tobacco products, such as cigars, bidis, and hookahs.
Should the current trend continue, 5.6 million Americans below 18 years may likely die due to smoking-related conditions.
These startling figures are more than enough to make CDC extremely concerned. "No form of youth tobacco use is safe. Nicotine is an addictive drug and use during adolescence may cause lasting harm to brain development," says director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
FDA Regulations On E-Cigarettes
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now "finalizing the rule to bring additional products under the agency's tobacco authority," expressed Center for Tobacco Products director Mitch Zeller, J.D. The ruling, which advocacy groups feel is long overdue, may be released anytime soon. Then e-cigarettes and other vapor products will be subject to scientific review and checked for possible adverse events. Age restrictions will likewise be imposed.
Some states such as New York and California are also pushing legislation that will prohibit the sale, possession or use of soking products among individuals 18 years old and below.