A nationally representative US study has found that 35.8% of students in their last year of high school have used an e-cig, meaning there are more US teenagers vaping than smoking.

As debate around the safety of vaping rumbles on both in the US and the UK, it seems that e-cigarettes use is only gaining popularity, with the 35.8% dwarfing the 26.6% that had tried smoking.

Richard Miech, principal investigator of the survey, which researched the lifestyle of tens of thousands of students, argues that vaping has gone beyond just a cigarette alternative.

“Vaping has become a new delivery device for a number of substances, and this number will likely increase in the years to come,” added Miech.

This hasn’t stopped lawmakers from regulating e-cigs across the pond, though, with a US senator advising the FDA to regulate the vaping industry and e-cigarette devices now.

Smoking rates have dropped massively among high school students in the United States since peak figures in the mid 90s. 64% of students said they had tried a cigarette by their final year in 1997, whereas just 26.6% had smoked a cigarette at that age in 2017.

In the last few years, the popularity of vaping has risen considerably, and American adults and teenagers are no exception.

Authorities and researches only really began tracking and studying vaping as of 2015. In 2015, 35% of students in the 12th grade had tried an e-cigarette. In 2017, the figure rose to 38%.

Moreover, the state of New York imposed an indoor vaping ban last month.

The study also found that drug abuse, smoking and drinking rates are declining.