Report shows use of e-cigarettes by high school students tripled since 2014Submitted: 04/17/2015
Report shows use of e-cigarettes by high school students tripled since 2014
Story By Kaitlyn Howe

ANTIGO - More than 13 percent of high school students in the U.S. reported using e-cigarettes in 2014, according to a report by the CDC.

The report indicates e-cigarette use among high school students has tripled since 2013 and that more teens use e-cigarettes than conventional cigarettes.

Wendee Cox works for the Langlade County Action Alliance. She says the increase in e-cigarette use could stem from a belief among teens that the e-cigarettes are safe for their health.

"I think they're under the misconception that they're safe, they're healthy," Cox said. "A lot of different companies are advertising them that way, so that's what they think. They're not taking the time to do any kind of research or find out any information about them."

Health workers say advertisements and a wide range of e-cigarette flavors might also contribute to the trend. They also say it's easier for teens to get e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes.

"Anyone can go online and order an electronic cigarette," Cox says. "It just has a little button that says 'If you are not 18, you can't continue.' It's easy enough for anybody to click that and continue."

The CDC report also shows more middle school students are using e-cigarettes.

In 2013 about one percent of middle schoolers said they used them. In 2014, that number increased to four percent.

Cox says some studies indicate e-cigarettes are less dangerous than traditional cigarettes, but she says they're still not healthy.

"She has scientific proof that they are safer than a cigarette, but it's still not safe," Cox says. "It's not healthy. It's not a healthy alternative; it's just a little bit better than putting all the 4,000 chemicals from a cigarette into your body."

Cox thinks the government will impose regulations on e-cigarette companies soon.

"I really do think that they're going to because they're getting enough heat, I guess you could say, from all the coalitions and the organizations and the [American] Heart Association--everybody that wants to really work to keep everyone safe, not just the youth, but everyone," Cox says.

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