Yet another risky teen trend on the scene

A new risk for kids and teenagers is exploding onto the scene. Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said, "I think this is an emerging epidemic, if you will." It's called the Juul, which is a brand name of a vaping device. The Juul is designed to help smokers quit. It's a step down from the traditional cigarette. It looks like a flash drive and can even be charged on a computer. It comes with flavored pods that have nicotine in them.

The Juul is only legal for those 18 and older. Middle and high school students, however, are getting their hands on them, and vaping to get a buzz. One teen, Alexa, said it takes a few "rips" to get the buzz. She added, "The way I describe it is like you're melting into a couch like everything just feels vibrate-y. You just feel like you can touch everything. I don't know. It's just the vibration of your body, just all the nerves like joining together."

Alexa knows she's hooked. She said in her high school everyone had juuls and used them in classes. "I had a best friend who used to sit next to me and he'd hit it, and then he'd pass it to me and I'd hit it and then give it back," she said. It's so small, Alexa said teachers didn't see it. The nicotine juice has a sweet smell and she said students would zero out their hits. Zeroing out is holding the smoke in long enough that there is no smoke cloud released when you talk. Or she said, juulers would cough the smoke out into the crook of their arms.

Scott Ruch from the Champlain Valley Family Center in Plattsburgh said children are smart and sneaky with juuls or vaping devices of any kind. "Kids are hiding it in their straps of their backpacks. They're hiding it in their belt area, tucking it in down by their socks, in their underwear. There are now sweatshirts being made that it's attached to the string coming out of the hoodie part," Ruch said.

A juul pod, which costs about $4, has the same amount of nicotine in it as a pack of cigarettes. But a pack of smokes costs up to three times that much. According to the Food and Drug Administration, more than two million middle and high school students nationwide were using e-cigarettes in 2016. Health officials say it's dangerous and can permanently change a child's brain function, making them more susceptible to other addictions.

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