A small device is causing big trouble for teens, parents and schools. It looks like a computer flash drive, but look again – it is an e-cigarette or a vape.
It is called a Juul.
Because they are not controlled, Juuls and vaping have a huge marketing advantage over cigarettes as the Tobacco Control Act of 2009 bans flavors to reduce the number of children who start to smoke.
“It is all about the marketing,” said Scott Masi an addiction specialist with the Brighton Center for Addiction in Brighton, Michigan. “They’re preying on adolescents. It is going to be a brand name, Juuling, Juul. They’ve only been out since 2015.”
Juuling is not as harsh to inhale, it comes in fruit and other flavors, it does not create an odor and it does not create smoke.
“I know a lot of kids use it in the classroom,” says Eileen Gorman who is now 19 and started smoking in high school. “They’ll just lean in, take a hit and exhale into their jacket.”
On average 1 in 5 teens are using cigarettes or vapes.
Many school administrators may not be aware of the Juul.
Matthew Dailey is the principal at Hazel Park High School in Hazel Park, Michigan. He said he had not heard of Juul.
“That’s a public health hazard,” Dailey said. “For me, that’s information I’m taking back to our staff.”
Juul responded to the controversy to Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit with a statement that reads in part:
JUUL Labs’ mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking by offering existing adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. JUUL is not intended for anyone else. We strongly condemn the use of our product by minors.
There is no Surgeon General’s warning on a Juul pack.