Data from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey show that recent e-cigarette use rose among middle school students from 0.6% in 2011 to 1.1% in 2012; among high school students, it rose from 1.5% to 2.8%. Hookah use among high school students rose from 4.1% to 5.4% from 2011 to 2012.
The findings are published in the November 15 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The authors of the report suggest that the rise in the use of e-cigarettes and hookahs may be due to increased marketing, availability, and visibility of these products and the perception that they may be safer than traditional tobacco products.
The report authors also note that e-cigarettes, hookahs, cigars, and certain other types of new tobacco products currently are not subject to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation.
The FDA has stated that it will issue a proposed rule that would deem products meeting the statutory definition of a tobacco product subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
"This report raises a red flag about new tobacco products. Cigars and hookah tobacco are smoked tobacco ― addictive and deadly. We need effective action to protect our kids from addiction to nicotine," Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in a statement.
The report also points out that tobacco products characterized as cigars include little cigars, many of which look very similar to cigarettes but are taxed at a lower rate and can be sold individually rather than by the pack and therefore are more affordable for teens.
Little cigars, the authors note, can also be made with fruit and candy flavors that are banned from cigarettes. CDC data show that more than 1 in 3 middle school and high school studies who smoke cigars use flavored little cigars.
"As we close in on the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's report on the dangers of smoking, we need to apply the same strategies that work to prevent and reduce cigarette use among our youth to these new and emerging products," Tim McAfee, MD, MPH, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in a statement.
MMWR. 2013;62:893-897. Full article