Young Non-Smokers Who Tried E-Cigs: Number Tripled
CDC report also finds that teens who used the devices were more likely to say they would try smoking
She and her colleagues also found that seeing tobacco ads increased teens' chances of smoking, and that the greater the number of tobacco ad sources -- such as on the Internet, television, movies, retail stores, and newspapers and magazines -- the more likely teens were to say they planned to start smoking.
Nearly 26 percent of teens who saw tobacco ads from three or four sources said they planned to start smoking, compared with about 20 percent among those who reported one to two ad sources, and 13 percent among those who saw no such ads.
Folan believes ads for e-cigarettes have a lot of influence, as well.
"As with tobacco advertising, the promotion of electronic cigarettes through several types of media will lead to an increase in use by adolescents," she said. "Current celebrity endorsement of electronic cigarettes will have the same impact on today's youth that tobacco advertisements of the past, by Hollywood icons, had on today's adult smokers."
The CDC report arrives the same day that the American Heart Association (AHA) called for e-cigarettes to be subject to the same laws that apply to tobacco products.
The AHA is also asking that the U.S. government ban the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes to young people.
"Recent studies raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation's youth, and could renormalize smoking in our society," Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, said in an association news release. "These disturbing developments have helped convince the association that e-cigarettes need to be strongly regulated, thoroughly researched and closely monitored."
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, each day, more than 3,200 Americans smoke their first cigarette. Unless there is a major reduction in the nation's smoking rate, 5.6 million U.S. children alive today -- about one in every 13 -- will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease, according to the Surgeon General.
Smoking kills nearly half a million Americans a year, and more than 16 million live with smoking-related diseases, which cost $132 billion a year in direct health care expenses.
The study was published Aug. 25 in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.