Survey finds e-cigarettes surpass regular smoking for US teens

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's annual drug use survey finds that electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens.

The National Institutes of Health report says tobacco smoking by teens dropped to new lows. Just 4 percent of eighth-graders said they had smoked a traditional cigarette in the previous month, but nearly 9 percent said they'd used an e-cigarette. And use increased with age. Seventeen percent of high school seniors said they'd used an e-cigarette.

Researchers call the popularity of e-cigarettes surprising. University of Michigan professor Lloyd Johnston leads the annual Monitoring the Future survey. He says he's worried that the progress made over the last two decades to cut smoking "could be reversed" by the introduction of e-cigarettes.

The battery-powered devices often are described as a less dangerous alternative for regular smokers who can't or don't want to quit. They produce vapor infused with potentially addictive nicotine but without the same chemicals and tar of tobacco cigarettes.

The survey didn't ask about repeat use, or whether teens were just experimenting with something new.

%@AP Links

020-v-34-(Martin Di Caro, AP correspondent)--E-cigarettes may be more popular than real cigarettes among teenagers, according to a government survey. AP correspondent Martin Di Caro reports. (16 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *020 (12/16/14)££ 00:34

021-c-14-(Martin Di Caro, AP correspondent)-"kick the habit"-AP correspondent Martin Di Caro reports researchers did not expect that so many 8th, 10th and 12th graders would report they had tried electronic cigarettes. (16 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *021 (12/16/14)££ 00:14 "kick the habit"

022-c-12-(Martin Di Caro, AP correspondent)-"high school seniors"-AP correspondent Martin Di Caro reports use of e-cigarettes increases with age, according to a national drug use survey. (16 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *022 (12/16/14)££ 00:12 "high school seniors"

APPHOTO NY108: File- This June 12, 2013, file photo shows a person posing with an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. Electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens, the government's annual drug use survey finds. Even as tobacco smoking by teens dropped to new lows, use of e-cigarettes reached levels that surprised researchers. The findings marked the survey's first attempt to measure the use of e-cigarettes by people that young. Nearly 9 percent of 8th graders said they'd used an e-cigarette in the previous month, while just 4 percent reported smoking a traditional cigarette, said the report being released Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health. (AP Photo / Tim Ireland, PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES (12 Jun 2013)

<<APPHOTO NY108 (06/12/13)££

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