*The following is excerpted from an online article from USA Today.
Use of electronic cigarettes by high-school students tripled in two years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 4.5% of high-school students used e-cigarettes regularly in 2013, according to a report released Thursday. Nearly 12% of high-school kids and 3% of middle schoolers had tried them at least once.
Cigarette use among teens has been cut in half since 2000, falling from 28% of high-school students in 2000 to 12.7% of high schoolers in 2013, said Peter Hamm, a spokesman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
But kids are experimenting with a variety of tobacco products beyond cigarettes — from cigars to hookahs, chewing tobacco and pipes. Nearly 23% of high-school students use some sort of tobacco product, according to the CDC. For example, nearly 12% of high-school students smoke cigars, up slightly from 2011.
Scientists don't yet know the full health effects of e-cigarettes, but the Surgeon General has said the nicotine they deliver is addictive and can harm adolescent brain development.
The rising numbers of kids who use e-cigarettes and other alternative tobacco products is worrisome, Hamm said. E-cigs are often sold in kiosks at places frequented by teens, such as shopping malls.
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulating e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, but it has not yet issued a final rule. The proposed rule would ban sale of e-cigarettes to people under age 18. Manufacturers of e-cigarettes would have to register any new products with the FDA. The FDA regulates only cigarettes now.