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One in Five Adult Cigarette Smokers Have Tried Electronic Cigarettes

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A fifth of all cigarette smoking adults have tried smoking electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, according to a new study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday.

The study, which examined data from 2011, found that the 21 percent figure was double the number who had tried e-cigarettes in 2010.n Six percent of the general adult population had smoked an e-cigarette.

Awareness of the existence of e-cigarettes is up too, as six in ten Americans knew of them in 2011, compared with only four in ten a year before.

This study is the first to report the rise in awareness and use of e-cigarettes.

Although e-cigarettes seem to have far fewer toxins than traditional cigarettes, their impact on long-term health has not been thoroughly studied, according to the CDC.  

“E-cigarette use is growing rapidly,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “There is still a lot we don’t know about these products, including whether they will decrease or increase use of traditional cigarettes.”

“If large numbers of adult smokers become users of both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes — rather than using e-cigarettes to quit cigarettes completely — the net public health effect could be quite negative,” said Tim McAfee,  director of the Office on Smoking and Health at CDC.

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