Trendsetting Teens Now Smoking E-Cigs to Make Themselves Look Cool

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A report from the CDC on Thursday outlined a growing trend in e-cigarette use among teenagers. According to the study, e-cigarette use among middle school and high school students nearly doubled between 2011 and 2012. In 2012, the total number of students who had tried an e-cig was 1.78 million.

That rise in usage also makes addressing health concerns over the gadgets more pertinent than ever, as schools wonder how to address the drastic increase in cool, rebellious students e-cigarette use among minors. Although the devices use water vapor, rather than more carcinogenic smoke, both still contain nicotine, which can, according to the CDC, be harmful to adolescent brain development. Still, because e-cigs differ enough chemically from regular cigarettes, they don't automatically fall under the same regulations, and the FDA has not yet classified them as a tobacco product. The ability to smoke them indoors has become one of their main selling points.

Various local governments have begun addressing e-cigarette concerns. In Evanston, Ill., the city passed regulations equating them with regular cigarettes; anywhere cigarettes are prohibited, e-cigs are as well. The Ohio state legislature is similarly working on passing regulations. D.C. officials are considering banning the sale of the devices to minors, while Maryland already has a similar statewide age restriction in place.

Still, e-cig use isn't the only trend on the rise. According to the FDA, cigars are also increasing in popularity. High school's different now.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.