KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you find one of these in your child's backpack, it's not a flash drive carrying an important PowerPoint presentation.
It's called a JUUL, and is one of many so-called "pod vapes" one vape shop said is flying off the shelves.
"It gets you more nicotine with less cloud," Roque Munoz, who manages Exotic KC Vape n Smoke in Kansas City, Missouri, said.
Munoz said while customers of age are stocking up on the devices, the store is also turning away many underage customers who try to buy the incognito tool for vaping.
"On a daily basis we at least turn away maybe five, 10 underage customers," Munoz said.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, e-cigarettes like the JUUL are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among teens. In December, NIDA published the results of a recent survey showing nearly 1 in 3 seniors in high school reported using a vaping device in the past year.
JUUL Labs said they take the issue of underage use of JUUL seriously, and has efforts underway to address it.
A company spokesperson released the following statement on the matter:
“JUUL Labs’ mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking by offering existing adult smokers with a better 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.
Nicotine is addictive. 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.”