News and Events

The Use of JUUL Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems on the Rise Among Highlands County Youth
May 31, 2018

"Juuling". A terrifying, highly addictive new trend that’s vastly popular among teens throughout the United States. JUUL is an electronic nicotine delivery system that is being used at home and even at school with ease, because it is so easy to conceal. In fact, students at school are taking every opportunity they can to take a hit and blowing into their backpacks, hats, or sweaters as soon as their teachers turn around. Not to mention, if you’ve never seen one, you’d have no idea that the slim and sleek USB flash drive looking mechanism is actually storing nicotine, instead of computer files and packs as much nicotine in one pod as an entire pack of cigarettes.

While tobacco use in Highlands County continues to decrease, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) is on the rise. While the manufacturers of JUUL insist that it the device is intended exclusively for adult use, it is appealing to youth because it is easy to conceal, can be charged using a laptop, and the pods are available in flavors such as mango, mint, and chocolate.

“We are very likely to see an increase in the use of ENDS products in the next set of FYTS results that we receive,” said Amanda John, Tobacco Prevention Specialist in Highlands County. “The scary part is that some parents have probably seen them, even touched them and had no idea what they were.”

In fact, the Highlands County Tobacco Prevention Specialist has made it her mission to dig deeper into this ever so popular device so teens, parents and community members see just how big of an issue this is and to warn about the health risks involved. She contacted an administrator at Sebring High School, the largest High School in Highlands County, to see if it really is as big of a problem locally as it is across the nation. Unfortunately, what was learned was disheartening and confirmed that even in rural counties such as Highlands, this is THE biggest issue administrators are combating when it comes to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Teachers and staff have found them left in classrooms, with students names etched in them. They’ve witnessed “discreet” pass offs in the halls as the students switch classrooms. They’ve even had a handful test positive for THC.

  “Another big issue we have is kids selling cartridges on campus. It’s a hot business. THC cartridges are an easy way to get high, unnoticed, which is the reason we drug test all cartridges,” said one administrator at Sebring High School.  “We had a student that was caught with nearly 20 pods in his backpack who admitted to selling them, which ultimately led to a 3-day suspension from school. They are a HUGE issue at all secondary schools, even middle schools and we’ve dealt with them all year long.”  

At Sebring High School alone there were 37 offenses for tobacco and 46 for unauthorized objects, (which could be a lighter, JUUL etc.,) but most of them being JUUL-related and now the schools have started working with local law enforcement who are issuing citations.

We can’t solve the problem, but we can sure help out by educating our community, youth and parents on the dangers of Juuling.

For more information contact Amanda John, Community Health Advocate with QuitDoc Foundation, at