By Joseph [email protected]
ILION – The director of the Central Valley Academy, Richard Keeler, can hide the confiscated Juul of a student in his fist.
So could the student.
"They use it that way," Keeler said, holding her hand to her mouth as she was about to cough. "The kids just sit in clbad, they do not even know … they just blow smoke through the sleeve of their shirt."
Juuls: long, rectangular devices that could be confused with flash drives: they are one of the new forms of e-cigarettes. The plastic devices contain a liquid solution that is 5 percent nicotine by weight. The liquid is heated so that the vapors can be inhaled.
They are not solely responsible for the increase in the consumption of electronic cigarettes by minors in secondary schools, and not all vaping methods include nicotine. But clandestine ways in which Juuls and similar devices can be used – in the hallway, in the bathroom, even during clbad, Keeler said – have helped spur a new demographic group of nicotine addicts and have led schools to take hard measures.
The 2015 Surgeon General's report found that "more than 3 million young people in middle and high school, including 1 in 6 high school students," had gone down in the month before the study.
Kristina Wieneke, Director of Public Policy at the American Lung Association in New York, said her organization lists the use of electronic cigarettes as a tobacco product.
"The rate of tobacco use in high school is now up to 25.4 percent," he said. "This increase is due to the increased use of electronic cigarettes in schools."
Recently, the administrators of the Free Academy of Rome removed the doors of the high school restrooms partly due to vaping. Other local school districts, such as CVA, lock their restrooms to better regulate those entering and leaving, in case someone is suspected of vaping.
"Now that we know what to look for, we've suspended 31 children for it, and that's probably in the last four months," Keeler said.
Student accounts represent an even bigger problem.
Kathryn Wojsiat, 15, a student at Holy Cross Academy in Oneida and a member of the anti-smoking campaign Reality Check, says vaping is common in her school, although it usually occurs outside of clbad. She said she also heard similar things from friends in public school districts.
"(My friends) have seen children pbad them right in front of their teachers," he said. "And his teachers will not even notice it, either they do not see it or they look at it."
CVA students have told Keeler that "probably 80 or 90 percent" of the children are vaping.
"It's amazing to think about that," he said. but I do not think it's far away. "
Effects of nicotine
Despite the popularity of its product among teenagers, JUUL Labs maintains that its electronic cigarettes were never for minors.
" JUUL Labs mission is to eliminate smoking by offering existing adult smokers a real alternative to cigarettes, "said a company spokesperson via email. JUUL is not meant for anyone else. We strongly condemn the use of our product by minors and, in fact, it is illegal to sell our product to minors. No child should have a JUUL product. "
The company also says it has taken several steps to reduce the number of children who use electronic cigarettes, including working with school districts and law enforcement officials throughout the country.  Jonathan Rieben, manager from the store at Smokers Choice in Utica, he is very familiar with children under the age of 18 who try to buy electronic cigarette kits or asking their parents to buy them.
"I have had tons of parents come in with their son who he's between 16 and 18 … at least once a day, "he said.
But, Rieben said, he will not sell electronic cigarettes to parents either if he knows they're meant for a child.
He thinks some Parents are willing to make the purchase because they see that electronic cigarettes are healthier than traditional tobacco, although there is still not enough data to show what happens to the body by the Prolonged vaping, MedicalNewsToday wrote that approximately 4,000 chemicals are inhaled when cigarettes are smoked, while e-liquid companies typically include half a dozen ingredients in their products.
Even so, the physical and psychological effects of nicotine addiction are well documented, and are reflected in current industry trends.
Nicotine, according to Psychology Today, activates circuits in the brain that "regulates the sensation of pleasure" through the increase of dopamine. Some research suggests that the brains of adolescents and young adults may be particularly susceptible to the effects of this reward system.
Juuls, according to the company's website, contains 59 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter (mg / ml) of solution. That makes the total amount of nicotine in each device more or less equivalent to the amount in a complete pack of cigarettes.
The e-liquid for other vapes sold at Smokers Choice used to reach a maximum of 24 mg / ml of nicotine, Rieben said. But now they sell e-liquid with 50 mg / ml. And some users modify the capsules to use their own liquid, which could have even higher concentrations.
"Nicotine levels are rising in this material, and in part it is due to Juuls," Rieben said. "Juuls has a nicotine content higher than any other cigarette."
Because vaping is considered less dangerous than smoking, many adolescents seem to minimize the potential for addiction. This can be seen in comments on vaping internet forums and in comments on a YouTube video about vaping teenagers in California schools.
Some accused the video of trying to scare viewers like hard anti-drug campaigns. Others asked sarcastically if the video was fake.
One user even suggested that the creator of the video should "start doing commercials about real problems".
Keeler, however, wants parents to be aware of what their children are inhaling.  "We have had students come to us and ask us for help because they are addicted," he said. "I think the more parents realize the negative impact of these, it will be helpful."
Contact journalist Joseph Labernik at 315-792-4995 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Labernik).