The number of young people who tried electronic cigarettes after never having smoked a conventional cigarette more than tripled between 2011and 2013—increasing from 79,000 to 263,000, a study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
And those who smoked e-cigarettes were subsequently more likely to say they planned to use conventional tobacco products, says the study, published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
“The data, which comes from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 National Youth Tobacco surveys of middle and high school students, show that youth who had never smoked conventional cigarettes but who used e-cigarettes were almost twice as likely to intend to smoke conventional cigarettes as those who had never used e-cigarettes,” the study says. “Among nonsmoking youth who had ever used e-cigarettes, 43.9 percent said they intended to smoke conventional cigarettes within the next year, compared with 21.5 percent of those who had never used e-cigarettes.”
Absent more restrictive federal regulations that apply to conventional tobacco products, many schools have taken their own steps to ban e-cigarettes, Education Week reported this month. From that story:
Thirty-eight states prohibit the sale of the product to minors, but e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, aside from those marketed for therapeutic purposes, are unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A rule proposed by the FDA in April, if passed, would put such devices under the category of tobacco products, allowing them to be regulated as such. The comment period for the proposed rule ends Aug. 8."
Lawmakers have complained that the products, perceived by many as a way to quit smoking, are actually luring in new, young users through their marketing campaigns. That has led a group of Senate Democrats to call for greater regulation of the products’ marketing, Politics K-12 reported this month.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.