High school students in America are increasingly smoking tobacco products like hookahs, cigars, and e-cigarettes, which are not subject to FDA regulation and can be flavored like fruit or candy, according to a new report.
Hookah use among high school students rose from 4.1 percent in 2011 to 5.4 percent in 2012, according the report released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Use of electronic cigarettes ticked up from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent in the same period, while use of cigars by black high school students rose a whopping five percent, from 11.7 percent to 16.7 percent, and has more than doubled since 2009. In 2012, 16.7 percent of all high school males smoked cigars.
Cigars, hookah tobacco, and e-cigarettes can be flavored like fruit or candy, unlike traditional cigarettes, whose makers are prohibited by law from using such flavoring. The CDC said these tobacco products may be growing in popularity due to marketing, availability and the perception that they are a safer alternative to cigarettes.
The Food and Drug Administration has said it intends to issue a proposed rule that would expand its ability regulate these products.