It's slick, high tech and it looks like a thumb drive for a computer, which means it can be easily hidden and taken anywhere. This worries health officials over at Spokane Regional Health District.
"It's very easy for youth in particular to conceal them from school professionals from families," says spokeswoman Kim Papich
Juul is the most popular vaping device on the market for teens and college students. But as popular as it is, there are serious health concerns related to it. The health district says Juul has an unusually high nicotine concentration: One cartridge has five percent nicotine, the average for other types of e-cigarettes is 2.4 percent.
"These are delivering nicotine in a way that traditional devices don't. There is not a lot what we know about this highly concentrated nicotine and how they're doing this," said Papich
In Spokane County, according to the Regional Health District, nearly 17 percent of 10th graders reported vaping within the past 30 days. Area high schools only report that a few devices have been confiscated but none in class.
Juul devices start at $39 for a starter kit and a pack of cartridges go for $17, making the habit if one gets hooked very expensive.
The health district just wants to get the word out before it's too late.
"Our main call to action for school professionals, for adults for families is to talk to your kids about these. We know that when these conversations happen it's less likely kids are going to experiment with these," added Papich.
Juul issued the following statement:
JUUL Labs’ mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to 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, community leaders and our business partners. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate and engage with parents and educators and encourage them to email us at email@example.com.
Some of our initiatives include:
· Limiting the sale of JUUL on our website to ages 21+. JUUL’s ecommerce platform incorporates industry-leading controls to help ensure minors are not able to purchase our products on our Web site.
· Working to engage school districts across the country to deploy educational programs.
· Actively working with law enforcement and community leaders across the country.
· Deploying a secret shopper program to monitor age verification of retailers.