Unless you vape yourself, you, like many parents, teachers and school administrators probably don’t know the difference between a JUUL, e-hookah and a vape pen. And even if you do, the technology has grown with the demand, and many things that don’t seem to have anything to do with nicotine or inhaling foreign substances are in disguise.
To keep vaping products away from kids, adults need to know what they are. The AJC gathered vaping devices and non-vaping objects to see if readers can tell them apart.
We went to a smoke shop less than an mile from a local middle school and purchased several vaping devices. Although the clerk didn’t ask the reporter who was clearly over 18 for ID, there was a sign on the counter alerting patrons that you had to be born on or before a certain date to be eligible to purchase tobacco or vaping products. Since the shop was also a convenience store, undoubtedly there are underage students present at times.
Several products were also purchased online. The vendor asked for a date of birth and appeared to have a system to verify that.
Take this quiz to test your knowledge. (The gallery at the top of this story features individual photos of the items you see in this photo here and listed below in the quiz.)
Don’t be disappointed if you don’t score 100%. Use this as an opportunity to realize that all that vapes can hide in many shapes and sizes.
1. Well Amulet pod system watch: It may look like one of those watches that sync up to your cellphone, but there’s a vape pod inside the face. This is probably one of the hardest devices to detect.
2. USB drives: With electronic storage devices getting smaller and cuter, they are easy to mistake for vaping devices that are also very small and often very cute. Shaped like a key, a syringe or a flat disc, their only use is to electronically store information.
3. Smokebuddy: Although this doesn’t contain nicotine or THC or any other smoke product, many kids use it to disguise the smell of smoke. The smoker blows into one end and the smell is filtered.
4. Naked brand, yummy gum flavored vape oil: Most people might guess that since this is a candy flavor, it’s not harmful. It contains nicotine and is used by cost-conscious vapers to refill pods or those who like to mix and make their own creations. Unlike many food-grade flavorings, however, it is made specifically for vaping, and the particles are much smaller.
5. Easy wedge: Call this one a red herring. It has nothing to do with smoking or vaping. It’s used to break into locked cars. The black square is slipped into the crack between the window and the frame. The pump expands the square wide enough to slip another instrument into the car to hit the unlock button.
6. CBD hemp oil: This is a tricky one. As long as CBD oil has low THC, the substance that gets you high, it is legal to possess across the country. This particular product is used for management of pain, anxiety, etc. It’s not the type of oil used in vaping.
7. Smok, vaping device: This type of device is becoming a popular alternative to the Juul mainly because of the price. It doesn’t look like a cigarette or a pipe, but it also doesn’t look like anything most people have seen before.
8. Youra vape stick: This is marketed as a nicotine-free vaping device, so technically it’s considered safe. The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention haven’t made a ruling on whether these products are harmful. As with any foreign substance, it may cause an allergic reaction. There are no concrete studies related to nicotine-free e-juices, so there are no any side effects specific to their use. This one says is helps people sleep.
9. Pocket Juice: This is another product that looks like it could be related to vaping, but it’s actually a portable cellphone charger.
10. FUMA: This is a knockoff of the Juul. It’s about $10 cheaper and uses the same size pods.
11. Fitbit fitness tracker: It looks similar to the vape watch, but there are no hidden pods.
12. Mini screwdriver: Although this doesn’t have anything to do with vaping, more products are coming on the market disguised to look like something else or to serve dual purposes.
Parents should be on the lookout for anything that seems unusual. Don’t be afraid to inspect objects you don’t recognize.
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