BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The use of electronic cigarettes is increasing among teens, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Arkansas lawmakers banned e-cigarettes on school campuses and the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
"Back in the regular session we introduced two bills. The Senate introduced a bill to prohibit e-cigarettes in our public schools on any public school campus, and then Representative Greg Leding introduced a bill that you have to be 18 or older to even purchase e-cigarettes," said Representative Monte Hodges. "
"I feel like minors shouldn't be able to buy e-cigarettes because it's pretty much the same thing and it could lead to them smoking the real cigarettes one day."
According to the study statistics, e-cigarettes serving as gateway to conventional tobacco products is also a concern of CDC researchers. The percentage of high school students who reported ever using an e-cigarette rose from 4.7% in 2011 to 10% in 2012.
In addition, 76.3% of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes within a 30-day period also smoked traditional cigarettes in that same period.
The method may have changed, but the message from doctors and lawmakers is the same.
"Although it's a simulation, it's electronic cigarettes, it still has nicotine in it."
The penalty for violating the laws is a fine of no less than $10 and no more than $100.
According to the CDC, e-cigarettes are largely unregulated and researchers do not yet know the long-term effects. The Food and Drug Administration is working on policy to incorporate regulation of the new products.