ELDRIDGE, Iowa (KWQC) -- The sales of JUUL e-cigarettes has skyrocketed, posing danger to youth. That’s according to the CDC. School administrators at North Scott High school are now battling the growing number of students using JUULs.
“The JUULing craze is really across every demographic,” said Aaron Schwartz, North Scott High School Assistant Principal. “There isn't a typical kid that seems to fall into that category,”
If you step inside North Scott High School in Eldridge. You are bound to find a student with a JUUL.
“Multiple reports a week of it because it is so easy to conceal they are so small,” said Schwartz.
The device that looks like a flash drive is easily hidden. Instead of it storing computer files it holds nicotine.
“Huge concern because JUULs are so new. The information about what it is and what it can do to your body is unknown,” said Schwartz.
The rise of the e-cigarette is the latest battle school administrators are facing. Schwartz says 50 to 70 percent of the student body is using or has tried it.
This 16-year-old who we will call Sarah says she first found out about JUULs from her peers.
“They're like, oh we're smoking and it's not as bad for you as if you are smoking cigarettes,” said Sarah. “I don't think people know the harm that it's going to cause you in the future or even now,”
According to the JUUL product website. One JUUL ‘pod’ the nicotine cartridge inserted into the smoking device and heated delivers about 200 puffs. That’s as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
“The nicotine levels is incredibly higher than even cigarettes,” said Schwartz.
Administrators says since they started cracking down on the issue. Students are being more careful.
“Had kids in the middle of class will stick their head in their sweatshirt or put their arm up to their sleeve,” said Schwartz. “They have a JUUL in their sleeve and you don't know,”
Although for Sarah it was a one-time thing, she says that isn't the case for everyone.
“I think it turned more into people being addictive and they actually want it and want to do it,” said Sarah.
So far this year, the school has collected 23 JUULs and their hope is to bring that number down.
The current policy the school has is students face a three day in school suspension for having JUULs on school grounds. Once they confiscate the JUULs the school resource officer takes them and destroys it.
TV6 spoke with parents in the Eldridge area who say they were not aware of the issue. Administrators say even if parents don’t think their students are using JUULs, they recommend parents talk to their children.
Local businesses that also sell the products have seen an uptick in students coming into their shops. Some say as soon as students turn 18, they are coming in.
A JUUL Labs spokesperson statement:
“JUUL Labs shares a common goal with policy makers, regulators, parents, school officials, and community stakeholders – preventing youth from initiating on nicotine. We are committed to preventing youth access of JUUL products, and no young person or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL. We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes if youth use continues unabated. As we said before, our intent was never to have youth use JUUL products. We have taken dramatic action to contribute to solve this problem, which is why we implemented the JUUL Labs Action Plan to address underage use of JUUL products,"
“We suspended the distribution of certain flavored JUULpods to traditional retail stores as of November 17, 2018, strengthened the age verification of our industry leading site, eliminated our Facebook and Instagram accounts, and are developing new technology to further limit youth access and use. We are committed to working with lawmakers, the Surgeon General, FDA, state Attorneys General, local municipalities, and community organizations as a transparent and responsible partner in this effort,"