Last year, 10% of high school students say they tried e-cigarettes, up from 4.7% in 2011, according to the survey. It was found that middle-school student use of the electronic cigarettes had also doubled, from 1.4 percent to 2.7 percent.
CDC Director Tom Frieden finds the results of this latest poll deeply disturbing, explaining that . "Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes."
The survey comes as the federal government is poised to announce, as early as October, its plans to regulate the battery operated cigarettes as tobacco products. Many people don't realize that the devices make use of a solution containing nicotine derived from tobacco leaves.
It has been seven years since E-cigarettes hit the U.S. market, and the number of smokers switching to them has shown a steady increase. One out of five Americans, or over 9 million people, have switched over or use them in addition to smoking real cigarettes.
E-cigarettes mimic the real thing, with the exception being they don't contain tobacco leaves. They look like the real thing, including a lighted red tip to simulate the ash on the end of the cigarette. They have a battery that heats up a cartridge of liquid nicotine solution to create a vapor you can inhale for a nicotine fix.
Because the electronic cigarette is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), manufacturers don't have to disclose the chemicals used in the nicotine solution or any potential health risks.
Adults and teenagers are under the assumption that because there is no tobacco in electronic cigarettes, they won't cause cancer and there is no "second-hand" smoke to worry about.
An analysis done in 2009 found the presence of antifreeze and other carcinogens and toxic chemicals in the nicotine solutions in E-cigarettes. A 2012 study of indoor air found that E-cigarette vapors released carcinogens and toxins like nicotine and formaldehyde into the air.
The use of "yummy" flavors, like bubblegum or fruit flavors, in the nicotine solutions are enticing to teens. But only five states -- California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Utah -- prohibit selling them to minors.
The E-cigarette industry says its product is not aimed at kids, and Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, the nation's largest tobacco company, says it won't sell its new e-cigarette, the Mark Ten, to minors. R.J. Reynolds, the second-largest tobacco company, says its newly revamped VUSE product is also targeted only at adults.
Until a restriction on the sale of E-cigarettes to minors is enacted, the CDC fears the use of them by minors will continue to be a serious problem.