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For Immediate Release: February 28, 2013
Contact: Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

About one in five U.S. adult cigarette smokers have tried an electronic cigarette

In 2011, about 21 percent of adults who smoke traditional cigarettes had used electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, up from about 10 percent in 2010, according to a study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Overall, about six percent of all adults have tried e-cigarettes, with estimates nearly doubling from 2010.  This study is the first to report changes in awareness and use of e-cigarettes between 2010 and 2011.

During 2010–2011, adults who have used e-cigarettes increased among both sexes, non-Hispanic Whites, those aged 45–54 years, those living in the South, and current and former smokers and current and former smokers.  In both 2010 and 2011, e-cigarette use was significantly higher among current smokers compared to both former and never smokers.  Awareness of e-cigarettes rose from about four in 10 adults in 2010 to six in 10 adults in 2011.

“E-cigarette use is growing rapidly,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “There is still a lot we don’t know about these products, including whether they will decrease or increase use of traditional cigarettes.”

Although e-cigarettes appear to have far fewer of the toxins found in smoke compared to traditional cigarettes, the impact of e-cigarettes on long-term health must be studied.  Research is needed to assess how e-cigarette marketing could impact initiation and use of traditional cigarettes, particularly among young people.

“If large numbers of adult smokers become users of both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes — rather than using e-cigarettes to quit cigarettes completely — the net public health effect could be quite negative,” said Tim McAfee, MD MPH, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at CDC.

For quitting assistance, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.smokefree.gov. Also, visit www.BeTobaccoFree.gov for information on quitting and preventing children from using tobacco.  For stories of people who have quit successfully, visit http://www.cdc.gov/tips.

 

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