Crackdown on vaping: Spring Branch ISD students try to put stop to alarming trend

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Some students in Spring Branch ISD have formed a Juuling awareness club to try to stop students from vaping. (KTRK)

A group of high school students are trying to put a stop to an alarming trend by forming a "Juul Awareness Squad."

Juul is a vape pen that charges using a USB port. Users can buy flavored nicotine "pods" that attach to the end of the vape device. When users inhale, the pen heats up the liquid and delivers vapor to the user.

"It's everywhere in high school," said Anna Offenhauser, 18. "I think it's a social status kind of thing. I feel like people do it because they want to act cool or they want to follow the crowd. It's kind of the in thing."

Offenhauser said she's tried the Juul once before, but didn't like it. She and a group of other students formed an anti-vaping squad. The students made a video that played for the student body that talked about the dangers and risks of vaping.

According to the American Association of Pediatrics, about three million adolescents use e-cigarettes. The Juul is sold at some convenience stores. Weeks ago, the FDA sent out warning letters to retailers who were suspected of selling the Juul vaping device to underage kids.

Juul told ABC News in a statement that its product was made exclusively for adults looking to quit smoking. The company also said it is investing $30 million to independent research and youth and parent education.

"That has a higher addiction potential," said Dr. Pushan Jani, an Internal Pulmonologist at Memorial Hermann-TMC/ UT Health. "So when these patients run out of the cigarettes, they tend to choose regular cigarettes because of their nicotine addiction."

Dr. Jani said there are signs that your kids may be vaping. Look for behavioral changes when spending extended amounts of family time with your student. If you notice your child is getting more anxious, restless, angry or depressed, then you may want to begin asking questions. You can also administer a nicotine test on your kids.

"An entire new generation is picking up this habit, and eventually we will find out 20 years later that we created a huge mistake later by not having enough regulation on these products," said Dr. Jani.
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