According to a report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, out of a class of 30 students, at least 7 of them were tobacco users.
That estimates to around 4.7 million children and teenagers who use tobacco.
Even more challenging, the report states, "Tobacco use and addiction mostly begin during youth and young adulthood."
The report says, "If current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million Americans aged <18 who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related disease."
Use of conventional cigarettes has actually reduced, but a radical increase in e-cigarette usage among middle school and high school students from 2011 to 2015 -- from 1.5 percent to 16 percent in high school students and from 0.6 percent to 5.3 percent in middle school students - has balanced the numbers. In other words, kids are resorting to a different type of tobacco, but the number of tobacco users in general has not dropped.
Supporters of e-cigarettes claim they're safer, since they don't burn tobacco and thus don't make tar, but claims of safety are largely unconfirmed.
Sara Shipley Hiles penned in The Post, "A growing number of studies find that some of the liquids used in e-cigarettes contain flavorings whose inhalation has been associated with lung problems, ranging from irritation to a rare but serious lung disease. For example, diacetyl, a butter-flavored chemical, has been linked to dozens of cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a life-threatening obstructive lung disease."