The soaring popularity of e-cigarettes is undoing years of progress in youth tobacco control efforts, according to a new government report.
For decades, the number of kids and teenagers lighting up fell steadily, but that’s all changing.
“That progress that we’ve made over the past years has been completely erased, and it’s a primary result of e-cigarettes,” says Dr. Brian King of the Center for Disease Control’s Office on Smoking and Health.
In their new report, the CDC blames electronic cigarettes for an increase in teen tobacco use.
4.9 million middle and high school students use some form of tobacco, up from 3.6 million just two years ago.
“This recent surge in e-cigarette use has ultimately been a call for action for the public health community to ensure that our evidence-based interventions affect the diversity of products that kids are using,” King says.
Those interventions include tobacco price hikes, stronger restrictions on kids’ ability to buy e-cigarettes, and mass media campaigns like the Truth Initiative.
The new CDC report finds many teenagers are smoking both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes.