How to Spot Teen Vaping

Updated: Jun 4

Is your teen using flavored tobacco, vapes, or JUUL’s?

There are 15,500 tobacco flavors and counting! That’s how many flavored tobacco products are currently accessible to youth, all of which are packaged in deceptive ways. Scary, isn’t it? You might be wondering, why are youth interested in flavored tobacco? We’ve been telling them for years that tobacco is dangerous. Youth use flavored tobacco because it tastes like candy, it’s packaged in a way that is not easily recognized, and it is seamless to fill their vape and JUUL devices with these flavors. And they may not even know that it has nicotine and can be addicting and harmful.

While California State Law prohibits the sale of tobacco to anyone under 21, kids are still getting their hands on tobacco products.Tobacco companies have a particular interest in youth to be their newest customers and it’s not going to change. If tobacco companies are going to continue to entice youth, it would help if coaches, mentors and parents learned how to identify which youth within their sphere of influence might be using flavored tobacco products and how they are getting it.

Some signs that may show a youth may be vaping or Juuling:

  • Are there sweet or fruity smells coming from behind closed doors? That might actually be nicotine hiding in vape flavors.

  • Are there school supplies or tech products you don’t recognize in kids’ backpacks or rooms? How about small vials or eye dropper bottles?

  • Have you come across unfamiliar chargers, coils, or batteries?

  • Have there been changes in your kids’ behavior such as increased mood swings, irritability, anxiety, or impulsivity?

  • Are your kids suffering from more frequent headaches or nausea? (Source:

So how do they get them? Here are common ways youth are getting tobacco products:

  • Vape products are all over social media, and many promote the sale of their products right from their accounts.

  • Website age gates are easily bypassed, and kids use a parent’s name for shipping. In fact, kids successfully buy e-cigs online 94% of the time.

  • Clerks at tobacco shops, vape stores, gas station and convenience stores might not enforce the law to not sell to anyone under 21 years old.

  • Many vape companies have names that wouldn’t raise a red flag on parents’ credit card statements.

  • Online orders can be delivered to Amazon lockers in supermarkets or convenience stores.

  • Orders can also be shipped to the homes where parent(s) are at work when the delivery comes. (Source:

Juul is the most popular brand of vaping device used by teens. Using Juuls is known as Juuling. One Juul pod can contain as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.

The newest flavor product on the market Is Puff Krush. You can add the flavor to your vaping device. Another tactic by the tobacco industry to hook kids!

Now that you have a better understanding of how to identify if your youth is using flavored tobacco products and how they are getting it, here are examples of how tobacco companies are packaging their flavored tobacco products and vaping devices. These include pod style vapes that use flavored tobacco cartridges, tanks that users fill with e-liquid, disposable cigarette-like vapes, and candy flavored e-liquids used to fill vapes. Juul, which look like a USB drive, are the most popular.

You’re not alone in this. There’s plenty of ways you can make a difference in the lives of your kids and in your community. Here are just a few ideas:

Additional resources:

US Surgeon General, Know the Risk: E-cigarettes & Young People Get tips on how the talk with your teen can be successful experience for both of you. Click here

Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids, The Flavor Trap Get a handle of tobacco industry’s tactics, both current and past, to hook kids for link. Click here

New York Time, The JUUL is too Cool Learn about the cultural impact of the JUUL e-cig from this kid-focused on-the-ground reporting. Click here

For out more at

Tobacco Free Trinity Program
Human Response Network, 111 Mountain View St., Weaverville, CA 96093
(530) 623-2024 or 1-800-358-5251

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