By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
Fewer American teenagers are smoking traditional cigarettes and instead are vaping, a new government survey shows.
While only one in 10 U.S. high school students smoke cigarettes, nearly one in four use electronic vaping products such as e-cigarettes and vape pipes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey released Thursday.
The biennial survey examines teen behaviors, ranging from tobacco and alcohol use to driving habits and bullying. The 2015 survey of 15,000 students nationwide is the first to look at use of electronic vaping products, not just e-cigarettes.
The new data show the rate of cigarette smoking among high-schoolers has continued to drop. In 2013, 15.7 percent of teens smoked cigarettes compared to 10.8 percent in 2015 – the lowest rate since the survey was first done more than two decades ago. In addition, nearly half of students who had smoked a cigarette within the past month had made at least one attempt to quit during the past year.
Yet as while traditional tobacco use drops, use of alternative tobacco products continues to climb.
According to the survey, 24.1 percent of high school students have used electronic vaping products, such as e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-hookah, vape pens, vape pipes and e-vaporizers. Use varies by state, with, for example, about 31 percent of West Virginia teens using e-vaping products compared with about 17 percent of Maine teens.
“The fact that e-cigs and other electronic nicotine products have surged in popularity with such an impressionable age group is extremely alarming,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement.
The rising trend of vaping came during a time when the products were mostly unregulated. But in May, the Food and Drug Administration announced new requirements to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
“Current cigarette smoking is at an all-time low, which is great news. However, it’s troubling to see that students are engaging in new risk behaviors, such as using e-cigarettes,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., said in a news release.
“We must continue to invest in programs that help reduce all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, among youth,” he said.