Popularity of a new tobacco product raises health concerns
It looks like vaping has a bright future in Hawaii.
Experimentation with electronic cigarettes among Hawaii’s high school and middle school students more than tripled from 2011-2013, according to a new state survey. Almost 8% of middle school students and 18% of high school students had tried electronic cigarettes in 2013 (up from 2% and 5%, respectively, in 2011), according to the survey of public school students by the Hawaii State Department of Health. It’s illegal in Hawaii to sell electronic cigarettes to children under the age of 18.
The latest federal data in 2012 showed that 10% teens have tried electronic cigarettes nationwide. New federal numbers on national teen use of electronic cigarettes will come out next week.
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Smoking of traditional cigarettes among high school students in Hawaii dropped from 2011-2013 and remained steady for Hawaii’s middle schoolers, according to the survey.
The health effects of electronic cigarettes are not well understood. Many in the health community fear that the rise in youth exposure to electronic cigarettes could re-glamorize smoking and become a gateway to traditional cigarettes. Electronic cigarette manufacturers have come under fire from Congress for marketing practices and flavors that seem geared at teens. The federal government has yet to regulate electronic cigarettes.