Washington: A new survey suggests that unconventional tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes and hookahs are becoming more popular among US teens.
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, 1.1 percent of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes, up from 0.6 percent in 2011.
Among high school students, e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent, and hookah use increased from 4.1 percent to 5.4 percent over the same period, Fox News reported.
The reason for the rise is not known, but it could be due to an increase in marketing and availability of electronic cigarettes and hookahs, as well as the perception that the products are "safer" than cigarettes, the CDC said.
Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said that a large portion of kids who use tobacco are smoking products other than cigarettes, including cigars and hookahs, which are similarly dangerous.
He said that they need to apply the same strategies that work to prevent and reduce cigarette use among our youth to these new and emerging products.
Overall use of cigarettes and cigars remained about the same between 2011 and 2012, however, there was a concerning increase in cigar use among black high school students, from 11.7 percent to 16.7 percent, the researchers said.
Some types of cigars are sold as "little cigars," which look almost exactly like cigarettes and may appeal to teens because they can be sold individually, and also come in fruit and candy flavors that aren't allowed in cigarettes, the CDC said.
The study is published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.