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Researchers surveyed more than 10,000 teens across the nation from 2012 to 2014. They found that 22 percent of teens used tobacco cigarettes, 13 percent used water pipes (hookahs), and 10 percent used e-cigarettes during that time.
Teens' use of e-cigarettes rose from 8 percent in 2012 to 11 percent in 2014. The use of e-cigarettes was especially high among those who also smoked traditional cigarettes (56 percent in 2014). E-cigarette use was highest among older teens and males, the study found.
"Electronic cigarettes are of great concern. They are highly addictive nicotine delivery devices, and the vapor can and does cause harm to the lungs," principal investigator Dr. Jonathan Klein, associate executive director of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in an AAP news release.
Hookah use among nonsmokers was 9 percent to 10 percent in each year, and dropped among smokers from 62 percent in 2012 to 47 percent in 2014. Hookah use was higher among older teens and nonsmoking females.
There were no significant changes in teens' use of chewing tobacco and small cigars/cigarillos. Older teens and males were more likely to use chewing tobacco and cigars/cigarillos.
The study was to be presented Sunday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego. Findings presented at meetings are generally considered preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
"Adolescent use of alternative tobacco products is problematic among current smokers, as it may prolong or worsen nicotine addiction. It is also problematic among nonsmokers, as it may serve as a gateway to further tobacco use and nicotine addiction," Klein said.
"Our study shows that e-cigarette use is increasing rapidly, and this should be a wake-up call for regulating these devices along with all other tobacco products," he noted.
Klein added that tobacco screening should be done when teens visit their physicians. The screening should include questions about e-cigarettes and other alternative products.
A similar study released earlier this month by federal health officials found e-cigarettes use booming among U.S. teens, with nearly 2.5 million middle and high school students now choosing to "vape" rather than smoke traditional cigarettes or indulge in other forms of tobacco.
E-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, making the nicotine-delivery devices the most popular tobacco product now used by American teens, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey.
This is the first time e-cigs have surpassed in teen popularity every other tobacco product, a trend that CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden called "deeply alarming."
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, April 26, 2015; April 16, 2015, media briefing, Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; April 17, 2015, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention