Teens Increasingly Take to e-Cigarettes and Hookah

November 19, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Tobacco alternatives like e-cigarettes and hookahs are rising in demand among the teenagers in United States.

Going by a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,  exactly 1.1 percent of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes Last year, which is 0.6 percent more than that of 2011.

Meanwhile, among high school students, the consumption rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent. The hookah use rose from a 4.1 percent to 5.4 percent during the same period.

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Though the reason for the sudden rise in consumption is not yet known, many are attributing it to the increase in availability of electronic cigarettes  and hookahs in the market. In addition, the well spread perception that these are far safer than cigarettes seems to have aided the growth.

Dr Tim McAfee of the CDC says that a large number of kids who use tobacco mostly also use other products like cigars and hookahs. These are equally dangerous. He is of the opinion that they need to battle the issue of rise in use in e-cigarettes and hookah with the same strategy that they use to discourage youth from smoking actual cigarettes.

Cigarettes and cigars remain to be the most commonly used tobacco products. About 3.5 percent of the middle school students say that they smoke cigarettes, and that 2.8 percent of them smoked cigars in the last one month. Meanwhile among high school students, about 24 percent admitted to smoking cigarettes and 12.6 percent said they smoked cigars in the last one month.

The overall use of cigarettes and cigars among the teens remained the same between 2011 and 2012, but, there was an increase in cigar use specifically among the black students in high school. It rose from 11.7 percent to 16.7 percent according to the researchers said.

Also noticed was the fact that off late some cigars are being sold as “little cigars”. These look almost the same as cigarettes, but appeal to the kids more, especially because they are available in single numbers and come in various flavors.

E-cigarettes

Last month, the CDC found that more than a third of the teens in school smoke flavored and little cigars.

More than 8 million Americans today are affected with diseases that are caused due to smoking. About 440,000 people die each year due to this. The number of adult smokers is close to 90 percent, of which a majority of them started smoking by the age of 18, says CDC.

Strategies like increasing the price of tobacco products, having smoke-free laws in workplaces as well as public places, accessible services through which we can help people quit, and imposing restrictions on tobacco advertising will help says the officers at CDC.

The study in which the report is based on is an annual survey of more than 24,000 U.S. middle and high school students. It is now out under the title Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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