School systems aware of Juul vaping device being used by students

School systems aware of Juul vaping device being used by students

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - Several greater Richmond area school systems are aware of a new vaping device that is getting into the hands of underage teenagers.

Several spokespeople for the districts say they've addressed situations with students in possession of the Juul.

According to vaping experts, the device is geared towards adults who are trying to quit smoking.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control states more than 2 million U. S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes or vaped in 2016.

"This is an adult product," said Jay Taylor, President of the Virginia Smoke Free Association. "Kids should not have these products. Parents, if you see these products you need to confiscate them right away."

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Vape shop owners said the amount of nicotine in one Juul pod is equal to the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes.

"These are designed to help get people off of combustible cigarettes," Taylor said.

Compared to some of the other vaping devices, the Juul is among the smallest available for vapers, therefore easily discreet.

"You can put them in your pocket and you can't even tell it's in your pocket," said Brad, an employee at Vape Guys Inc. "You can put it in your bag, in your sleeve, in your gloves, it's just really easy to hide them."

While they may be easy to hide, there are some characteristics you can look out for if you suspect an underage student or child has one.

"There is a slight after smell from whatever flavor," said Vape Guys Inc. owner Yan Gleyzer. "Usually it smells kind of minty, like tobacco. It does have some sort of odor to it."

The vapor also dissipates faster than the normal e-cigarette.

Of course, Virginia law makes it illegal for anyone under 18 to buy or use this kind of device.

"We actually check ID's from every customer that looks under the age of 27," Gleyzer said. "We do not sell to kids. Kids should not have those products."

NBC12 reached out to several of the school districts in the area to see if they've dealt with the Juul before.

A spokesman for Chesterfield County schools said they've had a few instances, but not a trend.

The Hanover County School spokesman said, "They're aware of the issue, and have found high school students in possession of the device".

Henrico County was not able to provide information as of 6 p.m. Monday.

Richmond Public schools said they've had no issues with the device.

"The vaping industry just needs to be on top of following the laws and id'ing," Taylor said.

Parents have also posted on social media about the device getting in the hands of underage teens.

One parent wrote, "I'm concerned to the degree that I think a lot of parents are either naive in thinking their kid does not do it or they are just ignoring what is right in front of them."

Another parent wrote, "Kids get bored and curious, and without boundaries, and clearly defined repercussions, they will experiment."

According to the U.S. surgeon general, e-cigarette use or "vaping" has grown 900 percent among high school students in recent years.

In 2016 a national youth tobacco survey found nearly 1.7 million high school students and 500,000 middle school children had used e-cigarettes in just the 30-day period before the survey was taken.

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