A report, released by a team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, lends evidence to the argument that electronic
cigarettes encourage youth smoking.
The study, based on nationally representative youth surveys, found
that more than a quarter-million adolescents and teens who had never
smoked used an electronic cigarette in 2013, a threefold increase
Youths who had tried e-cigarettes were nearly twice as likely to say
they would try a conventional cigarette in the next year compared
with those who had never tried an e-cigarette, according to the
study in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
E-cigarettes are slim, reusable, metal-tube devices containing
nicotine-laced liquids that come in exotic flavors. When users puff,
the nicotine is heated and released as a vapor containing no tar,
unlike conventional cigarette smoke.
Health experts have raised concerns that the burgeoning $2 billion
e-cigarette industry, which has been virtually unregulated, would
reverse gains in the decades-long effort to curb youth smoking in
the United States. Just 15.7 percent of U.S. teenagers reported
smoking in 2013, the lowest rate on record.
In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed rules that
would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 but would not
restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising, which
public health advocates say attract children.
Earlier this month, attorneys general from 29 states urged the FDA
to strengthen those rules to better protect young people from
“We are very concerned about nicotine use among our youth,
regardless of whether it comes from conventional cigarettes,
e-cigarettes or other tobacco products," Dr. Tim McAfee, director of
CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in a statement.
[to top of second column]
"Not only is nicotine highly addictive, it can harm adolescent brain
In the CDC study, researchers analyzed data from the 2011, 2012, and
2013 National Youth Tobacco Surveys of students in grades 6-12. They
found that more than 263,000 who had never smoked a conventional
cigarette used e-cigarettes in 2013, up from 79,000 in 2011.
Among non-smoking youth who had tried electronic 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
Lorillard Inc leads the U.S. e-cigarette market, while Reynolds
American Inc and Altria Group Inc are rolling out their own brands
nationwide this summer. A Wells Fargo analyst report in July
projected that U.S. sales of e-cigarettes would outpace conventional
ones by 2020.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.