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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Notes from the Field: Electronic Cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States

Tuesday, September 10, 2013  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR Weekly. September 6, 2013;63(35):729-730.

This study examined data from the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), a questionnaire given to US middle school and high school students, to estimate the prevalence of ever and current use (one or more days in the past 30 days) of e-cigarettes, conventional cigarettes, or both. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that provide doses of nicotine and other additives to the user in an aerosol. Depending on the brand, e-cigarette cartridges typically contain nicotine, a component to produce the aerosol (e.g., propylene glycol or glycerol), and flavorings (e.g., fruit, mint, or chocolate). Findings showed that among all students (grades 6-12), ever e-cigarette use more than doubled from 2011 (3.3%) to 2012 (6.8%). In 2012, among e-cigarette users, 9.3% reported never smoking conventional cigarettes; among current e-cigarette users, 76.3% reported current conventional cigarette smoking. The authors express serious concern over these results due to the uncertain impact of e-cigarette use on public health. Potential concerns include the negative impact of nicotine on adolescent brain development, as well as the risk for nicotine addiction and initiation of the use of conventional cigarettes or other tobacco products.

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