(HealthDay News) – The impact of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, on those who use them is still unknown, but one thing is clear — their popularity among U.S. youths has doubled in recent years, according to a report published in the Sept. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Catherine Corey, MSPH, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2011 and 2012 school-based National Youth Tobacco Survey to estimate the prevalence of e-cigarette use in middle school- and high school-aged youths in recent years.

The researchers found that, during 2011–2012, the percentage of children in grades six through 12 who had ever used e-cigarettes more than doubled, from 3.3% to 6.8%. Current use also increased nearly two-fold, from 1.1% to 2.1%. Among current e-cigarette users in 2012, more than three-quarters, 76.3%, reported also smoking conventional cigarettes.

“Given the rapid increase in use and youths’ susceptibility to social and environmental influences to use tobacco, developing strategies to prevent marketing, sales, and use of e-cigarettes among youths is critical,” the authors write.

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