In the midst of a historic decline in teen tobacco use, e-cigarettes surpassed cigarettes in popularity among Minnesota teens.
A recently released state Department of Health survey celebrated the largest ever drop in tobacco use by middle and high school students, but warned against e-cigarettes' explosion in popularity because of nicotine's harmful effects on the adolescent brain.
The sixth-ever survey of Minnesota students in grades 6-12 found 10.6 percent of high schoolers admitted to smoking a cigarette in the last 30 days -- down from 18.1 percent in 2011 -- compared to 12.9 percent who said they had puffed on an e-cigarette.
This was the first time the survey asked about e-cigs, although it notes a 2012 national study found only 2.8 percent of high school students said they had used e-cigs in the last 30 days.
Overall teen tobacco use in Minnesota fell from 25.8 percent in 2011 to 19.3 percent in 2014.
The survey also notes that high school students' preference for menthol cigarettes, another flavored delivery of nicotine, has more than doubled since 2000. Now 44.2 percent of smokers in high school prefer menthols over regular cigarettes, compared to 22 percent of adult smokers.