Four in 10 kids smoke first cigarette before age 10

The liquid used in e-cigarettes comes in fruit and candy flavors like cherry and peppermint

The liquid used in e-cigarettes comes in fruit and candy flavors like cherry and peppermint. Paul J. Richards AFP Getty Images

The dramatically low numbers of eight percent for past 30-day cigarette use by high school students, a decline of 1.3 percentage points from 2015 and a 4.7 percentage point decrease since 2013, are no accident and show the combined power of public-education campaigns targeted to youth, like truth® and the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) The Real Cost campaign as well as the CDC's "Tips From Former Smokers".

A growing number of studies claim e-cigarettes can serve as a gateway for future tobacco use by our nation's youth.A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on June 15, 2017 that e-cigarette use is down in middle and high schools for the first time in years.

And the results show that from 2015 to 2016, the rate of high-schoolers using e-cigarettes, along with hookahs and combustible tobacco products, dropped.

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on youth and tobacco. At the end of the analysis, 20% of the high schoolers and 7% of the middle schoolers who participated in the analysis were using tobacco products in 2016 say the authorities.

In 2016, the most commonly used products among middle school students after e-cigarettes were: cigarettes (2 percent), cigars (2 percent), smokeless tobacco (2 percent), hookah (2 percent), pipe tobacco (0.7 percent), and bidis (0.3 percent).

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Despite the decline in e-cigarette use, King said it is essential to reduce all tobacco use.

Public health officials attribute the overall decline in tobacco use to higher prices, access restrictions and laws prohibiting its use in certain areas. In fact, in 2014, e-cigarettes surpassed traditional cigarettes as the most commonly used tobacco product among teenagers.

Adults aged 45 to 64 were less likely to be uncertain about the risk of exposing kids to second-hand e-cigarette smoke than younger adults aged 18 to 24, the study also found. Although many people believe that e-cigarettes are less unsafe than tobacco cigarettes, serious debates have sparked regarding their actual benefits and harms. "Therefore, efforts to prevent youth tobacco use are critical to prevent another generation of adults who smoke and suffer from smoking-related death and disease".

There's both good news and bad news in the CDC report.

The drop was primarily driven by the decline in electronic cigarette use among those youths: 3 million in 2015 to just under 2.2 million in 2016.

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Almost 2 million middle and high school students said they had used two or more tobacco products in the past 30 days.

The CDC says e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive substance that can affect the developing teenage brain.

The CDC used data from a survey conducted in OR and found that 43.5 percent of eighth-grade students and 34.4 percent of 11th-grade students reported that e-cigarettes were the first tobacco product they used. The survey asked people to consider the potential harms of all electronic vapor products including e-cigarettes as well as e-hookahs, hookah pens, vape pens and e-cigars.

"Irrespective of any potential benefit that e-cigarettes might have for adult smokers who wish to use them to quit, youth should not be using any form of tobacco product", he said. In 2016, of all teens who now used tobacco, 47 percent of high school students and 42 percent of middle school students said they used two or more products.

The CDC did not specify which products were most frequently used together but Brian King, the CDC Office on Smoking and Health's deputy director for research translation, said previous studies have shown that the most common dual use pairing is between cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

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Current e-cigarette users were nearly 18 times more likely than people who never tried the devices to think the secondhand vapors caused no harm to children, and former e-cigarette users were more than seven times more likely to have this opinion, according to the results published in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

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