A Texas high school is warning parents about their kids’ incognito vaping habits.
Petrolia CISD posted a video to their Facebook page showing they’ve already confiscated three vaping devices in a matter of eight school days. One of them was a watch with a vaping device hidden inside.
A man off camera notes the school seized two additional vaping instruments from a student they didn’t initially catch because of how low-key they were.
“The parent had no idea what they were, that the kid was doing it, until we got a confession,” David Hedges, the superintendent, says and then proceeds to pick up the three devices and show their vaping capabilities.
He shows one of the most common vape pens known as a Juul and then breaks apart the watch to unveil the vaping device.
“You see this watch? If you take it apart though, it’s a vape,”
The intent of the video is to educate parents on what to look out for, Hedges told USA TODAY in an emailed statement.
“In Texas, tobacco, e-cigs and paraphernalia are illegal on school grounds no matter the age,” Hedges wrote.
He added that they’re not trying to shut down the vape industry but rather curb kids from buying unregulated devices from overseas.
“These devices contain chemicals that are regulated in the regular industry. Not to mention, kids are not vaping in a normal way, but they overuse the devices,” Hedges said in the email. “Throw in the THC cartridges that are surfacing and that brings another issue into schools.”
‘That’s three packs of cigarettes a day’
Hedges also notes in the video that one Juul pod is equal to smoking a pack of cigarettes.
The Juul website offers a “Juul Savings Calculator” that says that “one 5% strength JUULpod is designed to replace one pack of cigarettes in both amount (20 cigarettes or 200 puffs) and nicotine strength.”
It notes that if users consume JUULpods “in a manner consistent with” their current cigarette consumption, they may save $365 a year by switching to JUUL over cigarettes.
But some kids last year were caught smoking “three of these a day” the man declares in the school’s PSA.
“That’s three packs of cigarettes a day.”
“Folks this is a real problem. We just had a kid die up north that they know was due to vape … there was a kid that their lung collapsed the other day because they had been smoking,” Hedges says.
Parents are going after Juul
Juuling, or using a type of electronic cigarette that looks like the USB sticks used to save electronic documents and other data, is growing in popularity and racking up revenue.
It’s also vexing parents and teachers who want to discourage young people from picking up the habit. As the 2018-19 academic year gets underway, teachers and principals are concerned that the popularity will continue to grow.
With Juul’s discreet and odorless nature, teachers have a hard time catching students. Experts also say that the brand’s many flavors — such as mango and mint — make it an attractive product for younger users.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Wednesday declared youth vaping an “epidemic,” and said the agency will halt sales of flavored electronic cigarettes if the major manufacturers can’t prove they are doing enough to keep them out of the hands of children and teens.
Parents in Indiana and Ohio have filed lawsuits against Juul for the company’s use of high nicotine doses.
In the video, Hedges continues warning parents that even though they may think their kid isn’t doing it, they can never be too sure. He calls out a shop in Wichita that sells vapes to kids that look like necklaces and strings that go in their sweaters.
The video calls on parents to help alleviate the vaping issue with their kids, saying that if they’re found with these devices on campus, they can be subject to harsh punishments.
“We need your help,” he begs parents.
The video has been shared more than 112,000 times.
Rasha Ali/USA Today