The Palm Beach County School District in Florida is warning parents that principals are seeing a growing number of e-cigarette devices found on middle and high school campuses.
The JUUL is the latest trend in e-cigarettes, and it’s dangerously catching on among teenagers. The vape device looks like a USB stick and gives off minimal vapor.
“It’s just so easy to sneak in and it doesn’t really look like it’s a cigarette,” said a high school student in Martin County who is not being identified.
“We have students doing it in classrooms. We’re finding them [JUUL devices] actually plugged into our laptops in campuses,” said June Eassa, Director of Safe Schools for the Palm Beach County School District.
The JUUL comes with pods that contain liquid nicotine. Unlike other vape devices, this one gives off little to no vapor. Compared to more accepted, normal vape products such as Hamilton Devices, the JUUL has quickly picked up a bad reputation for its health effects.
“After winter break it’s really picked up a lot more,” said the student. “They just like blow it away real quick with their hand.”
— JUUL (@JUULvapor) January 17, 2018
Vape and Smoke Shop on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach confirms the JUUL has grown to be their hottest selling e-cigarette.
“It’s draw activated, no buttons, minimal vape,” said Jeniveve DeVary, Vape and Smoke Shop employee. “They [customers] really like the flavors.”
Mint, mango, cool cucumber, Crème brûlée, are all appealing flavors; especially to minors.
A regular pack of cigarettes has 20 cigarettes, which amounts to an average of 240 milligrams of nicotine per pack. One JUUL pod has the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes.
Dr. Jaime Marchand at St. Mary’s Medical Center says the health effects for a teenager vaping the same amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes or more in a short period of time, can be detrimental.
“It might lead to chronic changes that are irreversible,” said Marchand.
How Teens Are Getting Their Hands On JUUL
And teenagers are finding a way to buy the JUUL.
“From what I heard, they don’t card them or anything,” said the student.
In Florida, you have to be at least 18-years-old to buy e-cigarettes. Vape and Smoke Shop has a sign on its door that says they don’t allow minors inside.
“We ID everybody that comes in. They look 30 or younger, I (ask for their) ID,” said DeVary.
But that’s not the case everywhere. WPTV NewsChannel 5’s Senior Reporter Michelle Quesada purposely dressed down, removed all her make-up, and was sold a JUUL at a gas station; no questions asked, no identification was requested.
“These products use a liquid that may contain nicotine, marijuana, or other drugs as well as varying composition of flavors. We want to remind the school community that bringing e-cigarettes or any other smoking device on campus is strictly prohibited,” added Eassa.
The Palm Beach County School District will be sending a letter home to parents about e-cigarette devices soon.
How To Prevent Illegal Sales
The JUUL company website addresses underage use and requests that anyone who learns of illegal sales of the product to contact them at youthprevention@.
“Underage use of certain product categories remains a persistent problem, and at JUUL Labs we are committed to combating underage use of our product. While we have made strides, we are working on new approaches to address the issue more effectively. We welcome the opportunity to work with lawmakers, regulators and advocacy groups in pursuit of restricting our product to its intended users,” a statement from the JUUL website.
Written by Michelle Quesada for WPTV.
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