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U.S. Surgeon General warns about 900% increase of e-cigarette use

Staff Writer |
E-cigarettes are now the most popular tobacco product among American teens, according to a new U.S. Surgeon General's report that calls for a crackdown on the devices.

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E-cigarette use among high school students grew an astounding 900 percent between 2011 and 2015, and the devices surpassed traditional cigarettes as teens' preferred tobacco product in 2014, the report finds.

"E-cigarettes went from being rare in 2010 to now being the most common tobacco product used by our nation's youth," U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during a news conference.

"This represents a staggering development in a relatively short period of time. It also threatens 50 years of hard-fought progress we have made curbing tobacco use, and it places a whole new generation at risk for addiction to nicotine," he added.

This is the first report the Surgeon General has ever issued on e-cigarettes.

Public health officials are most concerned about the effect that nicotine inhaled from the devices can have on the developing brains of teenagers, Murthy said.

Effects of nicotine exposure can include addiction, reduced impulse control, deficits in attention and reasoning skills, and mood disorders, the report added.

Teens exposed to nicotine also are more likely to become addicted to traditional cigarettes and other drugs, according to the report. E-cigarette use is strongly associated with the use of tobacco products such as cigarettes.

"Nicotine comes from tobacco, and it is a highly addictive chemical," Murthy said.

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