ATLANTA — Children — like adults — are increasingly trying electronic cigarettes, according to the first large national study to gauge use by middle and high school students.
About 2 percent of the students said they'd used an e-cigarette in the previous month, according to a survey done last year. That was up from 1 percent in 2011.
More kids still smoke traditional cigarettes than the new electronic ones, and it's not clear how dangerous e-cigarettes are. It's also not clear from the report how many are using them on a daily or weekly basis.
But health officials are worried. The new study suggests many kids are now getting a first taste of nicotine through e-cigarettes and then moving on to regular tobacco products, they say.
Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provide users with aerosol puffs that typically contain nicotine, and sometimes flavorings like fruit, mint or chocolate. They've often been described as a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes.