Teens using more e-cigs, government debates regulations

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Teen E-Cigarette Use Triples, Government Debates Regulations

E-cigarettes are the hot new thing among middle school and high school teens. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says vaping has tripled for both age groups.

In numbers released by the CDC, 13.4 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days in 2014. That's up from 4.5 percent in 2013 and a massive jump from the 1.5 percent in 2011. For middle schoolers, the stats were just as surprising; 3.9 percent had tried vaping within the past 30 days in 2014, up from 1.1 percent the year prior.

The e-cigarette market is a fluid one. The government is still a bit indecisive about how to regulate them. Even though the Federal Drug Administration has put restrictions on e-cigarette sales in the past, it's wavered on how strict those regulations should be.

Most states have restrictions on anyone under 18 buying e-cigarettes, but, as Forbes points out, "that's clearly not stopping teens from getting them."

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Teens using more e-cigs, government debates regulations
In this photo taken Tuesday, July 7, 2015, Will Braaten, 19, exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at the Vapor Spot, in Sacramento, Calif. As e-cigarettes rise in popularity, “vape shops” are popping up around the nation, places where customers can gather to inhale doses of nicotine through a flavored vapor solution. Industry officials say California is at the epicenter, with an estimated 1,400 retailers, operating largely without regulations in a Wild West atmosphere, but rules are imminent. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Jonathan Brower is the owner of Waldo Vapes in Kansas City, Mo., which sells some high-end vaping products. (David Pulliam/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
SAN RAFAEL, CA - JANUARY 28: A customer smokes an E-Cigarette at Digita Ciggz on January 28, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The California Department of Public Health released a report today that calls E-Cigarettes a health threat and suggests that they should be regulated like regular cigarettes and tobacco products. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN RAFAEL, CA - JANUARY 28: Rhiannon Griffith-Bowman smokes an E-Cigarette at Digital Ciggz on January 28, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The California Department of Public Health released a report today that calls E-Cigarettes a health threat and suggests that they should be regulated like regular cigarettes and tobacco products. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN RAFAEL, CA - JANUARY 28: A customer smokes an E-Cigarette at Digita Ciggz on January 28, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The California Department of Public Health released a report today that calls E-Cigarettes a health threat and suggests that they should be regulated like regular cigarettes and tobacco products. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN RAFAEL, CA - JANUARY 28: A customer smokes an E-Cigarette at Digital Ciggz on January 28, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The California Department of Public Health released a report today that calls E-Cigarettes a health threat and suggests that they should be regulated like regular cigarettes and tobacco products. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN RAFAEL, CA - JANUARY 28: E-Cigarette vaporizer components are displayed at Digital Ciggz on January 28, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The California Department of Public Health released a report today that calls E-Cigarettes a health threat and suggests that they should be regulated like regular cigarettes and tobacco products. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 24: The Ontario government announces new prohibitions on smoking E-Cigarettes any place real cigarettes are banned. (David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Cliff Phillips, a 61-year-old retiree and former smoker, and his wife, Vali, enjoy electronic cigarettes at their home in Cuba, Ill., Tuesday, May 31, 2011. Electronic cigarettes like the one used by Phillips are at the middle of a social and legal debate over whether it's OK to "light up" in places where regular smokes are banned. E-cigarettes, which are gaining popularity and scrutiny worldwide, are plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that the "smoker" inhales. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
This Aug. 14, 2014 photo shows child-proof refill bottles of liquid nicotine at Salt Lake Vapors, in Salt Lake City. Poison control workers say that as the e-cigarette industry has boomed, the number of children exposed to the liquid nicotine that gives hand-held vaporizing gadgets their kick also is spiking. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that more than 2,700 people have called about a liquid nicotine exposure this year, up from a few hundred cases three years ago. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Daryl Cura demonstrates an e-cigarette at Vape store in Chicago, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
In this photo taken Thursday, July 16, 2015, Scot Taylor, left, manager of the Vapor Spot and customer Bruce Schillin, 32 exhale vapor from e-cigarettes at the e-cigarette store in Sacramento, Calif. As e-cigarettes rise in popularity, “vape shops” are popping up around the nation, places where customers can gather to inhale doses of nicotine through a flavored vapor solution. Industry officials say California is at the epicenter, with an estimated 1,400 retailers, operating largely without regulations in a Wild West atmosphere, but rules are imminent. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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The CDC report also says more teens were into hookah and e-cigarettes than cigarettes and traditional tobacco products.

While e-cigs don't contain tobacco, they do contain the addictive drug nicotine, which can have negative effects on an adolescent's brain and can even lead to overdoses.

"This is something that truly is going to have kids die from inadvertent overdoses. ... It's worth getting
the message out that this is a scary substance," Dr. Jennifer Barker told our partners at WRTV.

Just a few weeks ago, the CDC released its first anti-smoking ad featuring an e-cigarette user.

"Then I tried using e-cigarettes, but I ended up just using both," the ad says.

The CDC says this is the first time e-cigarette use has topped traditional tobacco among teens.

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