ATLANTA (CNN) -- Though smoking may have gone down among teens, tobacco use has remained steady because vaping has become so common.
The CDC reported that more than two million U.S. middle and high school students vaped or used e-cigarettes in 2016, and, they say, many teens believe that such practices pose no health risks. E-cigarette use has grown 900-percent among high school students, the surgeon general reported. A 2016 national youth tobacco survey discovered nearly 1.7 million high school students along with 500,000 middle school students had used e-cigarettes in the 30-day period before the survey was taken.
A high school principal in Connecticut, observed the growing probem. "They'd come in here and you'd have four or five kids at a time congregating, and they'd start to vape," Francis Thompson said.
An assistant vice principal in Massachusetts also decries the persistent issue. Now it's moved to students vaping in hallways, students vaping in classrooms," Spencer Christie said. "The most popular form item which is the Juul. And as you can see It looks like a flash drive. It's not, and the kids can just tuck it away when they're done."
Critics said that the design is not the only enticing aspect of e-cigarettes. The flavors also attract young users. One study out of Harvard found some of the flavors contained diacetyl, a chemical linked to severe respiratory disease. "The kids that I talk to believe that there's nothing in there that's dangerous. They don't think there's anything more than water," Thompson said.
However, it's not water in the products, but instead e-liquid. When heated by the coil, it changes to an aerosol. Columbia University researchers found the vapor has toxic metals such as nickel, zinc, lead and chromium.
"Youth is deeply concerning to me. We going to be taking some enforcement actions very soon to target companies that we think are marketing products in ways that are deliberately appealing to kids. I am going to be having conversations with some of these companies trying to um, inspire them if i can, to take more corrective actions on their own," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.