E-cigarettes becoming the new trend in high schools

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Apparently, teenagers are getting the message that smoking cigarettes can have deadly consequences later in life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette use by high schoolers has dropped by more than 50 percent since 2011.

In Florida, teen tobacco use is at an all-time low.

According to Tobacco Free Florida, last year only 4.2 percent of high school students in the state reported using cigarettes.

However, health officials say one alarming trend now is e-cigarettes.

"It makes it more palatable, easier for people at a younger age, probably not as much negative experience the first time because of the flavorings, etc. Most people when you talk about their first experience of smoking a cigarette, they will refer to the gagging, and the turning green and feeling sick," said Preston Mathews, a tobacco treatment specialist.

However, the e-cigarette usage rate was up 15.7 percent in 2016, far higher than any other tobacco product.

There are many unknown factors about smoking e-cigarettes and health officials are concerned how the use of nicotine can affect a teen's mind.