CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A popular new vaping device is becoming popular among high school and college students.
It looks and feels just like a USB flash drive, but more and more students are using it to get high. It’s called the “JUUL”,and some convenience store clerks say they can hardly keep the devices in stock.
Public health officials say this device is so popular because it can be easily disguised. It can be charged by plugging it into a laptop. UI students say the campus is plagued with them, and some parents are concerned high schools aren’t far behind.
“I think a lot of high school students are getting access to it, just through people,” one UI student told us. “I feel like a lot of kids have it now. I didn’t really know about it a year ago.”
It wasn’t really much of a thing a year ago. Now, you can pick one up in a convenience store, load it with either nicotine or THC, then take it wherever. The student says she picked up a JUUL a couple months ago, and hasn’t looked back.
“I love the JUUL. It honestly is awesome. I get a really good buzz off of it. I just know there’s health risks with it and stuff but it’s not a burning cigarette, so it must be fine.”
But it’s not.
C-U Public Health District Education Coordinator Whitney Greger is keeping an eye on the situation.
“A lot of people think because they’re not inhaling the tar from the traditional cigarette, that they might be more healthy,” she says, “but they still have harmful chemicals in them. Some people are seeing them being used in the schools, kids are using them in the bathroom, things like that. Since they’re not really recognizable, people aren’t really taking them away.”
And she says there’s another reason the JUUL is popular among teens.
“A lot of the flavors are youth-friendly, like bubble gum, cotton candy, or things like that,” says Greger.
“I like mint, I like mango,” the student says. “There’s a new cucumber flavor, really refreshing.”
She says it’s a quality product, and she’s far from the only one who feels that way.
“It’s like very prevalent here, like everywhere. A lot of people I know have them. Probably like more than half my friends.”
Public Health says the JULL is a big concern for them because it isn’t regulated the same way traditional cigarettes are despite being just as bad for one’s health. For example, the way cigarettes are advertised is limited, and they can’t be manufactured with fruity flavors. E-Cigs have no such limitations.
Anyone 18 or older can buy a “JULL” E-Cig. CNBS reports the company is producing 20 million products a month to try to keep up with demand. Business Insider says it’s the best-selling E-cig on the market, and has raked in more than $200 million in sales in the last year.