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Study: More Teens Turning To E-Cigarettes

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Associated Press
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

More teenagers are trying electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, according to a study by the University of Florida. Researchers found that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to use other tobacco products.

E-cigarettes produce vapor from a liquid that comes in a variety of flavors, like bubble gum and cotton candy. The liquid can be bought with or without nicotine.

Researchers say older people are turning to e-cigarettes to quit their smoking habit, while teens like them for recreational use.

The study looked at data collected by the state as part of the Florida Youth Tobacco survey, and found 12 percent of Florida high school students reported trying e-cigarettes in 2013. Lead investigator Dr. Tracey Barnett said that’s 50,000 more teen-aged users than the year before.

“Our cigarette rates for teens were actually headed downward, I mean, in a fast rate, and we were much lower than the national level," Barnett said. "The problem is, we also look to be a state that is leading the way in both e-cigarette and hookah use. It just was a really frustrating thing to see cigarette use heading downward and then other product use heading up.”

The UF study is the first to show a connection between e-cigarettes and hookah use. A hookah is a water pipe used for smoking flavored tobacco.

A Florida law passed last year banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Barnett says it’s too soon to know whether the law has had an impact on teen use

Gina Jordan reports from Tallahassee for WUSF and WLRN about how state policy affects your life.