An escalating number of children using E-Cigarettes, which contain nicotine and could potentially lead to a life-long addictive habit, a new study said Thursday.
A new research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the percentage of electronic cigarette users in both middle schools and high school students have doubled from 2011 to 2012.
The findings indicate that 10 percent of high school students say they tried the battery-powered devices in 2012, compared with 4.7 percent in 2011. Around 3 percent of those students reported having used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days of when the study was conducted. Usage also doubled among middle school students, rising from 1.4 percent of students in 2011 to 2.7 percent last year.
"The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a statement. "Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes."
By contrast, in 2011 the CDC reported 18.1 percent of high school students smoked a conventional cigarette in the past month. The 2012 data for tobacco cigarettes is not yet available.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes are touted as a healthy alternative to their foul-smelling cousins and their popularity is booming. Immediately after the CDC release, however, several senators characterized the companies behind the boom as unethical predators.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., was particularly vitriolic in his attack, citing the various flavors of nicotine-laced liquid offered by e-cigarette vendors as evidence of the companies' "very clear intent of creating a new generation of smokers."
"Without question," Blumenthal said in a press release, "tobacco companies are using the same despicable tactics with e-cigarettes that they used in previous decades with traditional cigarettes to lure youth down a path of nicotine addiction and eventual death."