NEW YORK (MainStreet) I don't know about you, but e-cigarettes seem a lot more glamorous and a lot less smelly and dirty than tobacco cigarettes. If I were a teenager, I'd definitely be intrigued; especially if I saw celebs smoking them on TV, thought I could easily buy them, considered them not as dangerous as tobacco cigarettes .
That's the biggest problem with e-cigarettes, according to Dr. Philip McAndrew, a Loyola University Health System physician and smoking cessation expert.
"Teens who might never consider smoking tobacco cigarettes are picking up e-cigarettes, thinking they are not dangerous, and getting addicted to the oral fixation and the nicotine habit," he said. "After 40 years of declining tobacco smoking rates among adolescents, we are seeing a steady rise in e-cigarette use."
According to the most recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of U.S. middle and high school students who use electronic cigarettes, commonly called e-cigarettes, more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. The National Youth Tobacco Survey found the amount of high schoolers who used e-cigarettes rose another one percent in just the last 30 days. The study also found 76.3% of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days also smoked conventional cigarettes in the same period.
"What's troubling is the e-cigarette use numbers are growing quickly and steadily," says McAndrew.
According to the CDC, tobacco cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the U.S., responsible for around 443,000 deaths every year. For every one death, 20 people are currently living with a smoking-related disease.
"The point is we want less smoking of any kind among teens who will grow into adult smokers and e-cigarettes are hooking teens," McAndrew said.