You might not know what this is, but your kids do and it's harmf - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

You might not know what this is, but your kids do and it's harmful to their health

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

A new trend is making nicotine cool again on school grounds.

Cigarettes are out and vaping is in.

Cleveland 19 News found a specific type of vape e-cigarette is so easy to hide, it could be in plain sight and you wouldn't even know it.

It’s called Juul.

It’s so small, it fits in the palm of your hand.

Juuls are so discreet, teens brag about using them in the middle of class or even at home without getting caught.

On the box it says "not for sale to minors,” but thanks to the internet it's easier than ever for teens to get their hands on them.

You won't see any lighters when someone is vaping. Instead, users need a good charge.

And there is no more smoke, it's called "blowing clouds" now since no burning is involved.


RELATED: Is secondhand vaping harmful? That's up for debate


The Juul comes with "pods" that use nicotine salts found in the tobacco leaf.

We found dozens of videos about vaping on YouTube aimed at teenagers.

A guy calling himself DonnySmokes is making a living off of vaping online.

The 21-year-old YouTube star could pass for a teenager.

He has 131,000 subscribers on his channel.

He posts videos showing teens how to vape at school.

“I'm going to go over a couple of different ways to hit your Juul while you're in school and not get caught,” he says in a video called How To HIDE & HIT Your JUUL at SCHOOL WITHOUT Getting CAUGHT.

He suggests teens hide the Juul in their sock or their binder.

He points out the bathroom or the hallway is a good place to vape without getting caught.

Donny Smokes is just one example of how widespread vaping has become for teens.

E-cigarettes are supposed to be for people 18 years old and up, and the Juul has increased its approved age to 21.

But teens still find them online on websites like eBay and then they send the package home before their parents get home from work.

If they have to us an ID, they have an older friend buy it for them instead.

Juul says it does not market to minors.

On its website, the company says "The JUUL Labs' mission is to eliminate cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes."

It goes on to say--

"No minor should be in possession of a JUUL or any other tobacco product. Underage use of certain product categories remains a persistent problem, and at JUUL Labs we are committed to combating underage use of our product.”

But Nancy Pommerening, executive director of Drug Awareness & Prevention in Rocky River, thinks vaping devices like the Juul are marketed to teens.

She points out that they come with vape juice in fruity flavors and you can buy accessories like colorful wraps that look like cell phone covers.

“The number one thing you can do is talk to your kids. Explain to them it can be dangerous, they can lead to a lifetime of addiction,” Pommerening said.

The Juul can pack in just as much nicotine as a regular cigarette.

Some teens even use marijuana when they're vaping.

“Research has shown us that nicotine is a gateway drug,” Pommerening said.

An estimated 3 million teenagers vape.

A new study just released by the Pediatrics Journal and funded by the National Institutes of Health showed teens who vaped with e-cigarettes are seven times more likely to smoke tobacco cigarettes later on.

Doctors say policy makers need to recognize "the urgent need to protect youth from another generation of tobacco-related disease and death."

Pommerening says keeping your child safe starts at home.

“I tell parents it's very hard to find these things. I tell them they are the parent and it is their job to question and be nosy,” she said.

One way to spot if your child is vaping is if they smell strongly of odors like fruits, flowers and baked goods. Those are common flavors for vaping.

You should also keep an eye on any unfamiliar gadgets or chargers lying around the house.

Avon High School sent a letter home to parents warning them about vaping two months ago.

Administrators say students can get suspended for using a vape e-cigarette or Juul.

So you may be wondering, is vaping safer than smoking?

So far, it's too soon to tell. Public health experts are divided on this.

Since vapers don't inhale any smoke, some think it contains less cancer-causing chemicals.

But we don't know the effect of what exactly is in vape juice.

A company spokesperson from Juul Labs sent Cleveland19 the following statement:

“JUUL Labs’ mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. JUUL is not intended for anyone else. We strongly condemn the use of our product by minors, and it is in fact illegal to sell our product to minors. No minor should be in possession of a JUUL product.

Our goal is to further reduce the number of minors who possess or use tobacco products, including vapor products, and to find ways to keep young people from ever trying these products. We approach this with a combination of education, enforcement, technology and partnership with others who are focused on this issue, including lawmakers, educators and our business partners.

An individual who has not previously used nicotine products should not start, particularly youth. Recent science raises serious concerns about the adverse effect of nicotine on adolescent neurodevelopment.

We encourage parents to talk with their children about the dangers of nicotine. As a company we also continuously seek ways to contribute to this dialogue and knowledge base.”

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