E-cigarette Use and Teens

You may be noticing more e-cigarette advertisements on television, in magazine, and on the Internet.

  • Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that contain liquid nicotine, the same highly-addictive substance contained in traditional tobacco products. However, the devices do not contain tobacco, so they are not regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, making these products easier for teenagers to purchase, especially online.1
  • Teenagers' use of e-cigarettes is increasing. From 2011 to 2012, use among high school students doubled from 4.7 percent to 10 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2
  • Use also doubled for middle school students. More than 76 percent of the middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes also smoked traditional cigarettes within the past 30 days.

These rates of student use of e-cigarettes concerns CDC officials, because 90 percent of all smokers begin using tobacco when they are teenagers. At this point not a lot is known about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, but there is concern that e-cigarettes could be an entry point to the use of conventional tobacco products.

Does Your Child Use Tobacco? Warning Signs of Tobacco Use >>

Cigarette smoking is the biggest preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. The CDC says some 443,000 Americans die each year of smoking-related diseases. Although some e-cigarette manufacturers market their products as a convenient means to stop smoking, the CDC says no evidence exists that these devises aid smokers in quitting long-term.

See The Effects of Tobacco Use for more short- and long-term effects of tobacco use >>


1. Susan Cassidy, “10 Little-known Facts About E-cigarettes ,” Discovery Fit and Health.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “E-cigarette use more than doubles among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012,” September 5, 2013.