'Juuling' on the rise among teens, getting them hooked on nicotine early

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It’s the latest teen trend: juuling. Sounds innocent enough, right? But this discreet, e-cigarette packs an addicting nicotine punch and kids are so hooked, they’re juuling in school.

“Juuls are really common. They’re everywhere. You walk into the bathroom and there’s a group of kids Juuling and then they hit them again in class. They’re really prevalent,” Seminole High School sophomore Chase Wiley said.

Wiley says some kids get them from older siblings that are 18 years or older. The owner of Purple Haze, Leo Calzadilla, agrees and knows another source kids are getting them from.

“We have 18- and 19-year-olds coming in and buying Juuls in bulk. We now know they are splitting up the packs and selling them individually to younger teens,” Calzadilla said, “It used to be only smoke shops that sold it, but now convenience stores and gas stations are selling it too. The problem is those places are not checking the teenagers’ ages and are selling to younger teens.”

“They’re very addicting. They have the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes,” Sophie Warich said. She tried Juuling to ease off smoking cigarettes but warns everyone that her nicotine withdrawal became much worse from Juuling than from cigarettes.

Warich isn’t surprised that teens are getting hooked on the strong product.

When it comes teenagers Juuling in schools, Wiley says school officials are just starting to get up to speed on the discreet trend.

“I know that there was one teacher who had one sitting on his desk who thought it was a flash drive for like a month,” Wiley said.

We reached out to Hillsborough County School District and they said their school resource officers are aware of Juuling but say it’s not a big problem in their schools. When we reached out to Pinellas County School District, they said they didn’t have anyone available to comment on Juuling in schools.

But Wiley, a student at a school in Pinellas County says it’s a big problem.

“I think like with all trends they come and go, I think in my school it’s very prevalent. It doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere,” Wiley said.

Juuls come with a 5 percent nicotine content. That’s the ingredient that can get you hooked.

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© 2018 WTSP

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