SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – There are some scary new numbers out from the government on how many kids are using e-cigarettes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says the data shows an alarming increase in e-cigarette use among U.S. middle school and high school students from 2011 to 2012.
The number of students in grades 6 to 12 reporting having ever used an e-cigarette doubled from about 3,5 to almost 7 percent. Recent use of e-cigarettes among 6 to 12 year-olds doubled, too.
E-cigarettes are sold in dozens of flavors that appeal to kids, including cotton candy, bubble gum, and orange cream soda.
“The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling,” said CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden, in a media release. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.”
The study also found that 76.3 percent of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days also smoked conventional cigarettes in the same period.
“About 90 percent of all smokers begin smoking as teenagers,” said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health. “We must keep our youth from experimenting or using any tobacco product. These dramatic increases suggest that developing strategies to prevent marketing, sales, and use of e-cigarettes among youth is critical.”
The American Lung Association say the numbers highlight an urgent need for the Obama Administration to move forward with regulating e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products. Right now, the FDA doesn’t have authority over e-cigarettes.
Because there’s no tobacco in e-cigarettes, the law that bans the sale of tobacco products to minors doesn’t cover e-cigarettes — although many Michigan businesses have policies against selling them to minors.