E-cigarettes on the rise among teens, adults

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control reports use of e-cigarettes has risen sharply among teens and adults in the United States in recent years.

The National Youth Tobacco Survey conducted by the CDC reports a significant increase of ?current??defined as at least once in the past 30 days?e-cigarette use by both high school and middle school students.

In 2011, 1.5 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes, and that rate increased to 4.5 percent by 2013, then tripled in 2014 to 13.4 percent.

For middle schoolers, 0.6 percent were current users in 2011. This rose to 1.1 percent in 2013, then more than tripled to 3.9 percent in 2014.

For Kansas, the latest data from the Kansas Youth Tobacco Survey showed 1.8 percent of high school students were current users in 2011-2012.

However, this Kansas data lags national data and does not include 2013 and 2014 data, which showed the rates tripling in the U.S.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices used to inhale vapor?typically containing nicotine?and they are sold in many different styles, colors and flavors.

E-cigarette vapor is created by heating a fluid mixture commonly called ?e-liquid? or ?e-juice,? which typically contains nicotine, chemical flavorings and additives such as glycerin or propylene glycol.

E-cigarettes were invented in China more than 10 years ago and nearly 500 brands exist today worldwide. The U.S. vaping industry alone is estimated to hit $10 billion in sales by 2017. Many e-cigarette brands are owned by large tobacco companies that market them as glamorous, safer and healthier than traditional tobacco cigarettes.

These claims, along with increased popularity, have caused many health-related organizations (i.e. Ameri?can Academy of Pediatrics, Ameri?can Heart Associa?tion) to call for increased regulation and discouragement of use among youth.

?Although Kansas data lags the federal data by two years, I suspect that the number of e-cigarette users in Kansas will rise like the national trend,? said Linda Sheppard, a Kansas Health Institute senior analyst and strategy team leader.

?The goal of this e-cigarette series is to inform policymakers about what e-cigarettes are and who is using them, to help explain the potential health effects of e-cigarette use, and to discuss local, state and federal regulation of e-cigarettes.?