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11 February 2019, 11:19 PM GMT

By Karin Roberts and Erika Edwards

Tobacco consumption among US high schoolers grew last year by more than 38 percent from last year, the government said in a report published Monday that e-cigarettes were blamed for unauthorized deletion of progress to keep young people off the addictive drug . Among high school students the increase – 28.6 percent – was equally sobering.

The report, coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that last year more than one in four high school students and about one in fourteen high school students used a tobacco product in the last 30 days – a total of 4.9 million children . In 2018 e-cigarettes were still the most used tobacco product among teenagers.

"It puts a new generation at risk for nicotine addiction," Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the CDC, in a press release. "The use of the youth of every tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe."

The report said that by 2018, 20.8 percent of those in the ninth to the twelfth grade said they were vaping, an increase of 78 percent from 11.7 percent in 2017. The percentage of sixth to eighth-graders said that she vaped from 3.3 percent to 4.9 percent, an increase of 48.5 percent. However, there was no significant change in the use of other tobacco products, including cigarettes, at that time between both groups.

The data was collected from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, an annual poll of American students asking about their use of cigarettes, cigars, e-cigs and four other tobacco products.

People working to stop children from smoking – such as Brian King, a deputy director at the CDC office for smoking and health – regretted the severe statistics. "The progress we have made in recent years has been completely erased," he told NBC News. "And it is a primary result of e-cigarettes."

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat liquid nicotine; users inhale the produced vapor. Smoking e-cigs is more discreet than cigarette smoking, making it appealing to teenagers.

The version sold by a manufacturer, Juul, is especially popular with teenagers because the nicotine cartridge, which resembles a flash drive, can be recharged on a laptop and can be easily hidden. It also comes in fruity and sweet flavors that children like, King said. Juul said that the e-cigs are only intended for adult smokers who want to move to safer products.

According to King, cigarette smoking has been around American youth since 1998. "In the past three years, however, we have seen no change in cigarette smoking," he said, adding that he hovered around 8 percent. "We certainly do not see any progress when it comes to e-cigarettes."

"What we ultimately do not want to do when it comes to using tobacco products is a game & # 39; slapping & # 39 ;," King said, "where we allow certain products to go down and certain products go up. When it comes to young people, there are no redeeming aspects of any form of tobacco product, whether it is smoked, smoke-free or electronic. "