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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If you have never heard of a “Juul” just ask a teenager.
Juul is an e-cigarette that fits in the palm of your hand and this new way of smoking is becoming a problem at schools across the country.
“The kids doing it in my high school are not discreet about it at all,” said high school senior Abby Bernstein.
In videos all over social media, more teenagers are using these vaping devices at school.
“They can be at home, at school, at any place, plug it in, and no one would know,” explained Arlington Schools Substance Abuse Counselor Dr. Mila Vascones-Gatski.
The Juul e-cigarette, small enough to fit into a marker, resembles a USB flash Drive.
“It has a cool factor, kids are attracted to it. It’s very easy to conceal, it’s affordable, and in terms of smell it doesn’t give much of a smell so parents can’t detect it,” said Dr. Vascones-Gatski. She says Juul is changing how middle and high school students’ vape. Last year, she confiscated one e-cigarette in six months. This year, it is two per week.
“This year, all of them have been using Juuls. We haven’t found maybe just one different vape,” she explained. “All of them have been Juuls.”
Like many e-cigarettes, nicotine pods for Juul come in catchy flavors like crème brulee and mango. One pod is equivalent to smoking about one pack of cigarettes.
Dr. John Spangler cautions the long-term effects of vaping are not known.
“Since nicotine alters the way the brain develops, we are concerned about adolescents and even young adults, using these products while there brain is still forming,” said Dr. Spangler, Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
On their website, the makers of Juul say they are committed to combating underage use of their product.
Dr. Vascones-Gatski says she is getting the word out about Juuling to educate students, parents and staff so these devices do not end up in the hands of children.
The makers of Juul say their goal is to provide adult smokers an alternative to traditional cigarettes.