HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – There is a dangerous new trend among teenagers. One that is so popular, schools are now warning parents to watch out for their children.
It’s called ‘juuling’ and it’s the latest way for kids to catch a quick buzz.
“It’s very prominent at my school,” a 10th grader at Mills Godwin High School in Henrico County, Virginia told news station WRIC.
The Juul looks like a USB flash drive, but it’s really an electronic cigarette.
It gives teens a discreet way to vape. The Juul uses pods that come in kid-friendly flavors like mango and creme brulee. The pods contain the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. So when kids take a quick hit, they get a short buzz.
“I think it’s how it looks and how it tastes and it’s so easy to transport and that’s why I think people are quick to pick up on it,” that Godwin sophomore explained.
Adds a freshman student, “People do it in the bathrooms during class change or during class.”
Godwin High School Principal Leigh Dunavant said the ‘Juuling’ trend took off last spring.
“Kids are looking for other things that they can explore,” she explained. “And this seems to be a safer alternative for them to smoking and I don’t think they know the dangers of it.”
Dunavant grew so concerned, last month she emailed parents to warn them about Juuling.
“I’ve had a lot of parents reach out to me and say, ‘thank you so much for communicating this because I had no idea,’” Dunavant said. “The kids all know, the parents didn’t know.”
“Definitely have good conversations with your kids and make sure they’re aware of all the harms it can cause long-term,” says Adam Sanabani, the owner of Griffin Vape on Midlothian Turnpike.
He says it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy a Juul. Sanabani insists his shop follows a strict carding policy to prevent minors from getting their hands on the products.
But Juuls are also sold at gas stations and online. Students tell us teens are selling them to their classmates as well.
“This is the perfect product because kids don’t have a clue that a product this sleek, this modern, this computer-oriented could possibly be dangerous,” insists Matt Myers with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
He explains because the Juul is so new, there’s no data on the dangers of using it.
Nicotine is highly addictive, but doctors can’t say with certainty that this particular e-cig will become the gateway to something more serious.
Adds Myers, “We don’t know if this product is going to lead those kids to go on to smoke cigarettes or whatever behavior. We simply don’t know.”