In 2011, 1-in-5 U.S. adult cigarette smokers have tried an electronic cigarette, also known as e-cigarettes, up from about 10 percent in 2010, officials say.
Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at Centers for Disease Control, said in 2010 and 2011, adults who have used e-cigarettes increased among both sexes, non-Hispanic whites, those ages 45 to 54, those living in the South, and current and former smokers.
In both years, e-cigarette use was significantly higher among current smokers compared to both former and never smokers. Awareness of e-cigarettes rose from about 40 percent in 2010 to 60 percent of U.S. adults in 2011.
"E-cigarette use is growing rapidly," said Dr.Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. "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, Frieden said.
Research is needed to assess how e-cigarette marketing could impact initiation and use of traditional cigarettes, particularly among young people, Frieden said.
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