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Tobacco-Using Teens Turn to Cigarette Alternatives, CDC Says

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A new report from the CDC claims cigarette use among teens is on the decline, but alternative tobacco methods are on the rise.
A new report from the CDC claims cigarette use among teens is on the decline, but alternative tobacco methods are on the rise.

"These products are just as dangerous, just as addictive and just as bad for your health," Mike Brothers, of the Springfield-Greene Health Department, said.

Overall, 6.7 percent of middle school students and 23.3 percent of high school students used tobacco in 2013.

Electronic cigarettes are the most popular alternative. For middle school students, e-cigarette use jumped last year from .6 percent in 2011 to 1.1 percent in 2012 and for the high school age, it increased from 1.5 to 2.8 percent.

The report also notes an increased use of hookahs and cigars. 

"It's the same thing, it's still tobacco, you're still putting thousands of chemicals into your body," Brothers said. 

Health officials say smoking is prevalent in Missouri. According to the most recent information by the CDC, Missouri ranked 48th, with one of the largest population of smokers among the states.

"That's for many reasons, not the least of which that we have by far the lowest taxes on tobacco in the nation, even lower than tobacco producing states," Brothers said.
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