New ways teens are hiding vaping habits in plain sight from adults

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The incredible jump in the number of teens using vape products has smoke shops stepping up enforcement of Texas law.

Statistics show the number of teens vaping has reached a record high. Experts are now sounding the alarm as a warning to parents and teachers.

"Kids can hide them in pockets, kids can hide them in backpacks," said Rania Mankarious, CEO of Crime Stoppers of Houston. "They look like pens or other objects, and because they're so easy to get, fun to use, they're cool, they're addictive, you're seeing a sharp increase."

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Video from the Petrolia school district in north Texas shows what is becoming the new wave: vape devices that blend in far too well with everyday technology: a watch, a flash drive and even pens.

Katy ISD Police Chief Robert Jinks said even for them, the problem is getting worse in schools.

"High school is the main place we see the vaping," Jinks said.

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From smartwatches to pens, teens are finding new ways of hiding their vaping habit from adults.

"Really, it's in the hands of parents," Mankarious said. "Parents have to be at the forefront telling their kids it's dangerous, why it's dangerous."

Even with new laws raising the legal vaping age to 21, teens are still returning to vape shops.

Chelsea Hayes of Rock N Roll It Vape Shop in Houston showed Eyewitness News just some of the incognito vaping devices, but reassures their enforcement of the law at this shop.

"I cannot and will not (sell to anyone underage)," Hayes said. "That's why we're hard down strict on the new rule."

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