CDC study shows increase in e-cig use among teens

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 17, 2014
A female model demonstrating use of an electronic cigarette. Photo by Michael Dorausch, obtained via Wikimedia Commons

A female model demonstrating use of an electronic cigarette. Photo by Michael Dorausch, obtained via Wikimedia Commons

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta recently released a study showing that the use of electronic cigarettes among teenagers tripled in 2013 compared with usage rates in prior years.

Two local school systems say their policies already ban the use of these products by their students.

According to the CDC study, which was published in the Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal, 263,000 middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2013, compared with 79,000 in 2011.

“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,” a summary of the report says. “Among non-smoking 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.”

CDC spokesperson Darryl Konter said that dozens of states, including Georgia, ban the sale of e-cigarettes to people under 18.

Atlanta Public Schools and City Schools of Decatur also ban e-cigarette use on campus.

CSD spokesperson Courtney Burnett said the current school system policy forbids using these devices.

“The CSD Student Drug Policy contains the language, ‘or possess, use, distribute, or be under the influence of chemicals or products that may result in a state of exhilaration or euphoria or otherwise alter mood or behavior.’ According to the National Institute of Health, nicotine is an addictive chemical that boosts mood and stimulates memory and alertness and this information from NIH squarely places nicotine (including from electronic cigarettes) in the category of chemicals that alter mood or behavior,” Burnett said.

APS has a similar policy, according to officials there.

Spokesperson Jill Strickland said, “This is Atlanta Public Schools’ policy: Students shall not use, purchase, possess, sell, distribute, consume, be under the influence of, or have the odor of any kind of controlled substance as defined by state law. These prohibitions include, but are not limited to: anabolic steroids, substances that look like drugs, cigarettes, imitation controlled substances, drug paraphernalia and other substances such as crack, glue, LSD, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, etc.”

DeKalb County Schools officials did not return messages seeking comment.

The evidence of increased e-cigarette use among teenagers is worrisome for CDC officials.

“We are very concerned about nicotine use among our youth, regardless of whether it comes from conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products.  Not only is nicotine highly addictive, it can harm adolescent brain development,” Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in a press release.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Nate

    Instead of getting ourselves worked up over some no-context statistics from the CDC, let’s look at some facts on the ground:

    My 16 year old daughter says she knows about half a dozen people who vape, and all of them only use zero-nicotine liquid. She does not know a single person who smokes cigarettes or has any inclination to do so.

    Consequently, I fail to see why increased vaping by teenagers is a bad thing.

  • Dean

    Seems to be the opposite according to a new study in the UK by ASH – http://www.ecigclick.co.uk/children-are-not-interested-in-e-cigs/

  • William Gibson

    Regulate it if you must, the kids who want it will get in any ways. http://vapesterdam.com/review/disposable-e-cig-apple-review/ Junk like these disposable e-cigs is probably the problem. Convenience stores sell them because their easy so people will buy them. The more expensive and better units wouldn’t be accessible by teens until their of legal age any ways.

  • Erick

    Is this that CDC study that counts “probably not” as yes.

  • Moe Howard

    The CDC study cited in this article has been debunked here:

    “It didn’t seem as though it really proved to be a gateway to anything,” said Wagener, who presented his findings at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, in National Harbor, Md.”
    http://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/tobacco-and-kids-health-news-662/e-cigarettes-may-not-be-gateway-to-smoking-study-681597.html

    And here:

    “A substantial number of EU adults have ever used e-cigarettes. Ever users were more likely to be younger, current smokers, or past-year quit attempters.”
    http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2014/04/30/tobaccocontrol-2013-051394

    There is an inverse correlation between youth smoking and E Cigarette sales.

    Cigarette smoking among U.S. high school students at lowest level in 22 years
    http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0612-YRBS.html

    Simultaneously, E Cigarette sales have skyrocketed. Do the math.

    Just more CDC (dishonest) fear-mongering; ho hum…

  • Moe Howard

    “Among non-smoking 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.”

    I find this CDC study to be quite lame; it relies on what kids say they will do. It is not based on hard facts and there is no follow through to verify the actual outcome. Kids will say whatever they think makes them look cool. Saying something is a far reach from doing something. Worthless study if you ask me; it only serves to incite baseless fear.

  • Erick

    Is this the CDC study which counted “Probably not” as yes. Sounds like a bogus study to me.

  • Mother

    If you vape, smoke goes in your lungs, que no? How can that be good for teens? Smoke does not belong in any lungs, but certainly not lungs that are still growing and providing oxygen to brains that are still developing.

    • Kyle Peterson

      Just because it looks like smoking doesn’t mean it is. 100% different

  • Etchie

    “Among non-smoking 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.”

    The parameters in this study created with a biased outcome in mind. Those that were “not considering trying tobacco” had to answer with a “no”. If you said anything like, “I don’t think so” or “I doubt it”, you were put in the “yes” category because technically, you were considering it.

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