More than 75 percent of youth users smoke conventional cigarettes too

The percentage of U.S. middle and high school students who use electronic cigarettes, or e cigarettes, more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, in today s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, show that the percentage of high school students who reported ever using an e cigarette rose from 4.7 percent in 2011 to 10.0 percent in 2012. In the same time period, high school students using e cigarettes within the past 30 days rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent. Use also doubled among middle school students. Altogether, in 2012 more than 1.78 million middle and high school students nationwide had tried e cigarettes.

“The increased use of e cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.”

The study also found that 76.3 percent of middle and high school students who used e cigarettes within the past 30 days also smoked conventional cigarettes in the same period. In addition, 1 in 5 middle school students who reported ever using e cigarettes say they have never tried conventional cigarettes. This raises concern that there may be young people for whom e cigarettes could be an entry point to use of conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes.

“About 90 percent of all smokers begin smoking as teenagers,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health. “We must keep our youth from experimenting or using any tobacco product. These dramatic increases suggest that developing strategies to prevent marketing, sales, and use of e cigarettes among youth is critical.”

Electronic cigarettes, or e cigarettes, are battery powered devices that provide doses of nicotine and other additives to the user in an aerosol. E cigarettes not marketed for therapeutic purposes are currently unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA Center for Tobacco Products has announced that it intends to expand its jurisdiction over tobacco products to include e cigarettes, but has not yet issued regulatory rules. Because e cigarettes are largely unregulated, the agency does not have good information about them, such as the amounts and types of components and potentially harmful constituents.

“These data show a dramatic rise in usage of e cigarettes by youth, and this is cause for great concern as we don t yet understand the long term effects of these novel tobacco products,” said Mitch Zeller, director of FDA s Center for Tobacco Products. “These findings reinforce why the FDA intends to expand its authority over all tobacco products and establish a comprehensive and appropriate regulatory framework to reduce disease and death from tobacco use.”

Although some e cigarettes have been marketed as smoking cessation aids, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that e cigarettes promote successful long term quitting. However, there are proven cessation strategies and treatments, including counseling and FDA approved cessation medications.

Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of dis ease, dis ability, and death in the United States, responsible for an estimated 443,000 deaths each year. And for every one death, there are 20 people living with a smoking related disease. To quit smoking, free help is available at 1 800 QUIT NOW or

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Lawmakers seek regulation of e-cigarette liquids – chicago tribune

Lobbyists amp up efforts to sell washington on e-cigarettes

An Illinois regulatory proposal, which the House approved 105 10 this month and now moves to the Senate, would enable the Illinois Department of Public Health to set specifications for the packaging of e cigarette liquid, or e liquid, refills.

E cigarettes have raised concerns recently after national statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed an increase in the number of calls to poison centers related to the devices. The CDC found that calls to poison centers went from one in September 2010 to 215 this past February. Calls related to regular cigarettes fluctuated, ranging from 301 to 512 per month.

About half of the calls related to e cigarettes from September 2010 to this February involved children age 5 and younger. About 42 percent of the calls involved people age 20 and older.

“The rise in e cigarette popularity doesn’t explain why e cigarettes account for 41.7 percent of combined cigarette and e cigarette (calls last February) when e cigarettes account for only 1 to 2 percent of the market,” said Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.

The Illinois Poison Center experienced similar trends in e cigarette related calls. After receiving 22 calls in 2012 and 23 in 2013, the center this year had already received 15 calls by March 31, operations director Carol DesLauriers said. At that rate, DesLauriers expects to receive 60 calls this year.

“Right now, it’s just numbers,” she said. “But I think it does tell us that we need to be vigilant about preventing them from going up further if possible.”

E liquids, which consist of varying concentrations of nicotine in liquid form mixed with flavoring and other chemicals, can cause acute nicotine toxicity if ingested, inhaled or absorbed into the skin or eyes. Effects of exposure most commonly reported by callers included vomiting, nausea and eye irritation.

Health officials are also concerned about e liquids that come in fruit and candy flavors such as strawberry, chocolate and bubble gum that may appeal to children.

State Rep. Robyn Gabel, D Evanston, who proposed the bill, said lawmakers have been “waiting for (FDA regulations) to happen for a while now” and noted that the European Union passed regulations, including childproofing requirements, on Feb. 26. If the FDA does come up with regulations, they will supersede state regulation, she said.

“No child should be put in danger because of an e cigarette,” Gabel said.

Many manufacturers and retailers already sell e liquid refills in what they consider to be childproof containers. Sealed, prefilled or disposable cartridges would be exempt from regulations.