FDA cracks down on sale of e-cigarettes, popular Juul device to minors

(Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The FDA is cracking down on underage use of vaping devices and e-cigarettes.

It's an update to a story we first brought you in February, warning parents of the new trend.

Some of these e-cigarettes are so easy to hide, kids are using them at school.

The FDA has issued warnings to 40 stores as they try to stop illegal sales of e-cigarettes to children.

They're focusing on the Juul vaping device, asking the company to hand over its documents about its design and marketing to see if they're targeting minors.

It looks like a flash drive, but Juul and other e-cigarettes contain nicotine.

Teens and even children hide them in their backpacks, binders, pockets and socks.

"We are addicting young children to nicotine. This is dangerous. Nicotine has severe effects on brain development," said

Nancy Pommerening is the executive director of Drug Awareness & Prevention in Rocky River.

"Even though Juul on their website talks about how they try really, really hard to only sell to adults, we all know that the young folks are getting this. If you want evidence, go to YouTube," she said.

Type "Juul" into YouTube, and you'll find dozens of videos.

Some of them even show kids how to vape at school and hide it from teachers.

Pommerening said she's spoken to several sixth grade teachers who are frustrated that they can't do more to get e-cigarettes out of the classroom.

"One teacher told me she turned around to use the smart board, she smelled this sweet scent, knew what it was. By the time she turned around, the vapor was gone," she said.

Pommerening worries this is like the fight against Big Tobacco all over again.

The products just look different.

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"Parents need to be very much aware that this device can be dangerous to their children and it does remind me of what we just went through 30 years ago and here we go again," she said.

Cleveland19 reached out to Juul Labs. They sent us this statement:

Building on its existing youth prevention and education programs, JUUL Labs today announced it will take additional decisive action by actively supporting state and federal initiatives to raise the minimum age to 21+ to purchase tobacco products as part of an initial investment of $30 million over the next three years dedicated to independent research, youth and parent education, and community engagement efforts.