According to a new study, cigarette smoking has slowed amongst middle school and high school students in 2014. However, electronic cigarette use in the same group nearly tripled.
In a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited by Reuters, the report showed that the use of e-cigarettes increased to 13.4 percent over the past year. In 2013, a mere 4.5 percent had utilized electronic cigarettes. The report also noted that cigarette smoking fell from 12.7 percent to 9.2 percent. The drop to under 10 percent of total teens utilizing cigarettes is the largest drop from year-to-year since to 2005.
The CDCP study noted a drop in all tobacco use from 24.6 to 22.9 percent. Though one might believe this is categorically good news, those who are pushing for a removal of tobacco dangers are severely concerned about the shift.
“Nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use,” Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement.
Karen Blumenfeld, who serves as executive director of the Global Advisers of Smoke free Policy Summit in New Jersey, stated in her interview with NJ.com that, “These are National Figures. Our state numbers haven’t declined.”
Numbers in the state have not been collected since 2012. The last study showed that in 2012, 13.6 percent of students in New Jersey had smoked. In Hawaii, a 2013 study found that 29 percent of high-school aged students had utilized an e-cigarette.
Director of the Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco division Mitch Zeller, has voiced frustration in the new data, saying, “[The study] forces us to confront the reality that the progress we have made in reducing youth cigarette smoking rates is being threatened.”
e-cig proponents would state that the data found would show e-cigs are helping keep kids away from traditional cigarettes.
Jed Rose, director of the Center of Smoking Cessation at Duke University Medical Center, says, “There is no firm conclusion that one can draw from correlation data. But it is equally amenable to the interpretation that e-cigarettes are diverting young people away from cigarettes.”
For now, the jury is still out on the use of e-cigs and their positive and negative social and physical effects. What is clear is that children are smoking traditional cigarettes at a lower rate. How truly positive the outcome of these numbers are is still to be seen.