Children—like adults—are increasingly trying electronic cigarettes, concludes the first large national study to gauge use by middle and high school students.
About 2 percent of the students said they’d used an e-cigarette in the previous month, according to a survey done last year. That was up from 1 percent in 2011.
More minors still smoke traditional cigarettes than the new electronic ones, and it’s not clear how dangerous e-cigarettes are. It’s also not clear from the report how many young people are using them on a daily or weekly basis.
The study suggests many minors are getting a first taste of nicotine through e-cigarettes and then moving on to regular tobacco products.
Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provide users with aerosol puffs that typically contain nicotine, and sometimes flavorings like fruit, mint, or chocolate. About 20 states have banned store sales to minors.
The study is based on a questionnaire filled out by nearly 19,000 students in grades 6-12 in 2011 and by 25,000 in 2012.
A version of this article appeared in the September 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as More Children Using Electronic Cigarettes