Health officials alarmed over rise in e-cigarette use

Apr 17, 2015

Instead of smoking cigarettes, more teens are using electronic cigarettes. According to a new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in just one year, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled to over 13 percent.

Local citizens vaping on e-cigs in downtown Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News file photo

"Just three or four years ago hardly any kids were using e-cigarettes. Now, it's the most common tobacco product used," said Dr. Andrew Hyland  of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. "The research is catching up."

Hyland said he'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the medical community who would think its good for teens to be vaping.  

"It's a cleaner delivery system. Not clean per se, but much cleaner than cigarette smoking," Hyland explained. "But nicotine is the primary chemical that makes you want to keep using it."

Experts says nicotine use at a young age may harm brain development.

Hookah, or waterpipes, are also gaining in popularity with usage doubling to 9.4 percent. Hyland said hookahs are also not safe.
  
The good news is the survey shows traditional cigarette use among teens fell to just over  nine percent. But Hyland says there is still a lot of work to do.