Teenagers turning to cheaper and accessible smoking alternatives

Young children and U.S. teens are turning round to get a cheaper and more accessible nicotine fix from hookahs and electronic cigarettes, rather than smoking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports today.

Overall tobacco use recorded a 1 percentage dip among middle- and high school students last year — 6.7% and 23.3%, respectively in comparision to year 2011, according to CDCs analysis of the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey. An earlier report, states that more adolescents are smoking flavored cigars and cigarillos.

Around 25000 children from the sixth-grade to 12th grade were the part of a survey which lead to the respective figures. Students were considered current tobacco users if they had smoked a cigarette, cigar, hookah, e-cigarette, bidis (thin, hand-rolled cigarettes) or kreteks (clove cigarettes) or used smokeless tobacco, dissolvable tobacco, or snus (a powdered tobacco) at least once in the last 30 days. The report stated that 14 percent of high school students smoked in 2012. In 2011 and 2000, the rates were 15.8 percent and 28 percent respectively.

However hookahs and e-cigarettes are not federally regulated and taxed. Not regulated doesnt mean it is safe for consumption. They are said to be equally harmful containing nearly the same amount of nicotine, affecting brain development. The easy access and economical aspects are the key factors of their increasing popularity among teens. According to the report in 2012, 5.4 percent of high school students reported using hookahs at least once a month, which is around 1 percent greater than that in 2011, when the percentage was 4.1. For e-cigarette use in high school teenagers, the percentage of them that tried this product increased from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent from 2011 to 2012.

CDC reports that smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in US, and nearly 90% of adult smokers began smoking by the age of 18.

These findings show why it is urgent that the FDA move forward with plans to regulate all tobacco products, including cigars and e-cigarettes, said Susan Liss, executive director of the National Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Cigarettes have been already banned in public schools and CDCP demanded to forbid electronic cigarettes and hookahs usage as well.

The Report was First Published here

Ethan Jones

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