BUFFALO, NY - Health experts say it's the latest evolution of the electronic cigarette. This device marketed as Juul is catching the attention of kids who could slip off to smoke in the school bathroom or elsewhere.
"It's just crafted better. It looks like a USB thumb drive...it's marketed really well. Slick stuff. The way it's marketed and promoted. Lots of flavors," says Dr. Andrew Hyland of Roswell Park Cancer Institute
And it has a cool tech design that might appeal to kids. Our TEGNA sister station KSDK in St. Louis showed it to parents last year and they were surprised to learn what it actually was.
Dr. Hyland says it could allow for some deception that parents, teachers, or administrators may not realize. "You know kids charging these things in the computers that are school issued because they look like a thumb drive."
You can easily find them on the market. The local Yeti Vapor chain advertises them on their Facebook page with a similar product called Juno. The manufacturer emphasizes it will not sell to anyone under age 18. And a Yeti store manager told 2 On Your side they have a new electronic scanning system for age verification. He would not discuss the marketing of the Juul device.
But the Roswell Park researcher says recent research on use of vaping products indicates a health issue. "Pretty clear evidence that kids that start with a vapor product...an e-cigarette or Juul type product...the evidence is pretty clear that they're more likely to go on to try cigarette smoking which is what we know is incredibly harmful."
Of course the sale of tobacco or nicotine, including liquid nicotine which can be used in vaping products, is illegal to anyone under age 18 under New York state law.
Two vaping shops in the Town of Tonawanda were recently cited for underage sales in an undercover sting earlier this month.