Flash drive-sized vape? Local doctor warns of new trend among teens

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A local doctor is warning parents and teachers about the latest e-cigarette trend.

The biggest concern is the device's popularity among teenagers because of how discreet it is. The JUUL (pronounced jewel) vaporizer resembles a USB flash drive and operates like an electronic cigarette, making it easy to conceal.

High School senior John Butler, 18, says he's seen his peers smoking e-cigs.

"They hide them and smoke them in the bathrooms. They don't do it for fun, they do it just to do it," said Butler, a non-smoker.

Juul can be found online, at smoke shops, and at gas stations. They can be easily charged through a computer or any USB port and the smell is easy to mistake for perfume, thanks to a wide variety of flavors.

Butler's stepfather Perry Mattan is disappointed in the company, JUUL Labs. He believes it's catering to young children.

"Why are they even making them things for it? It's gearing up for kids to hide it -- hide it from their parents and sneak them," Mattan said. "I mean why make them?"

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Dr. Shan Yin says e-cigs can also be more harmful, depending on carcinogen potency.

"The amount contained in each of these cartridges is somewhere between a pack and a half of cigarettes if you absorbed it completely," said Yin.

Yin said his biggest fear is that the latest vaping trend will lead to a dangerous habit.

"Teenagers are much more likely to start using traditional cigarettes once they start using e-cigarettes," said Yin.

FOX19 NOW reporter Maytal Levi reached out to JUUL Labs for comment and received the following statement via e-mail:

JUUL Labs' mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to 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.

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