Warnings pour in for Vapes disguised as school supplies amid back-to-school preparations

As students prepare to head back to school, a concerning trend has emerged: vapes disguised as everyday school supplies. These deceptive devices are raising alarms among parents, educators, and law enforcement agencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s becoming increasingly challenging to differentiate vape pens from typical school items.
  • In some school districts, police canines are being employed to detect vapes.
  • Approximately 2.5 million U.S. middle and high school students are e-cig users.

CBS New York revealed that these disguised vapes are not a new phenomenon. Michael DeHaven, the Denison ISD Director of Security, mentioned that they have encountered vapes disguised as highlighter pens, ink pens, and dry erase markers. To address this, Denison ISD has installed vape sensors in bathrooms and hallways.

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NewsNation highlighted the issue of e-cigarettes disguised as highlighters. A company named High Light Vape has introduced the “Office 4” e-cigarette, which closely resembles a traditional highlighter. The CDC has reported that around 2.5 million middle and high school students in the U.S. currently use e-cigs, prompting states and schools to implement stricter policies to combat this issue.

KRMG shared insights from Jim Carroll, who served as the Director of National Drug Control Policy under the Trump administration. Carroll expressed concerns about traffickers based in China targeting children with disposable, illegal vaping devices adorned with cartoon characters and kid-friendly flavors. Disturbingly, some of these vapes have been found to contain dangerous contaminants, including fentanyl.

Fox News reports that authorities are urging parents and teachers to be vigilant, especially as the new school year begins. Vapes are now being disguised as highlighters, USB drives, ballpoint pens, and even phones. Some of these highlighter vapes come in kid-friendly flavors like mango, strawberry banana, and blueberry ice. Stefan Bjes, a patrol sergeant with over 19 years of service, highlighted the dangers of these vapes, stating that they are widely available and trafficked illegally in stores across the nation. The sales of e-cigarettes have seen a significant spike, increasing by almost 50% between 2020 and 2022.

Lastly, KXII from Grayson County, Texas, emphasized the importance of parents being alert during the back-to-school season. Casey McKinley, the owner of Smokin’ Vapes, warned against the new types of vapes that look like highlighters. The packaging of these vapes cleverly disguises their true nature, making it challenging for parents and educators to identify them.

Is there a Federal Legal Vaping Age?

In the USA, the legal age for purchasing tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, underwent a significant change. On December 20, 2019, a new law was enacted, revising the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This adjustment raised the minimum age for buying tobacco items from 18 to 21 years. Termed as the “Tobacco 21” or “T21” initiative, it took immediate effect, making it unlawful for vendors to offer any form of tobacco goods to individuals below 21. This age restriction is uniformly applied across all retail spaces without any exclusions.

For an in-depth understanding, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Tobacco 21” webpage offers comprehensive insights.

Vaping Laws by State

State Minimum Age to Buy E-Cigarettes Vaping Laws Law Taxing E-Cigarettes
Alabama 21 Years Old No No
Alaska 19 Years Old No No
Arizona 18 Years Old No No
Arkansas 21 Years Old No No
California 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Colorado 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Connecticut 21 Years Old No Yes
Delaware 21 Years Old Yes Yes
District of Columbia 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Florida 21 Years Old No No
Georgia 21 Years Old No Yes
Hawaii 21 Years Old Yes No
Idaho 21 Years Old Yes No
Illinois 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Indiana 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Iowa 21 Years Old No No
Kansas 18 Years Old No Yes
Kentucky 21 Years Old No Yes
Louisiana 21 Years Old No Yes
Maine 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Maryland 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Massachusetts 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Michigan 21 Years Old No No
Minnesota 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Mississippi 21 Years Old No No
Missouri 18 Years Old No No
Montana 18 Years Old No No
Nebraska 21 Years Old No No
Nevada 21 Years Old Yes Yes
New Hampshire 21 Years Old Yes Yes
New Jersey 21 Years Old Yes Yes
New Mexico 21 Years Old Yes Yes
New York 21 Years Old No Yes
North Carolina 18 Years Old Yes Yes
North Dakota 21 Years Old No No
Ohio 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Oklahoma 21 Years Old No No
Oregon 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Pennsylvania 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Rhode Island 21 Years Old Yes No
South Carolina 18 Years Old No No
South Dakota 21 Years Old Yes No
Tennessee 21 Years Old No No
Texas 21 Years Old No No
Utah 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Vermont 21 Years Old Yes Yes
Virginia 21 Years Old No Yes
Washington 21 Years Old No Yes
West Virginia 18 Years Old Yes Yes
Wisconsin 18 Years Old No Yes
Wyoming 21 Years Old No Yes

 

As the new school year approaches, it’s crucial for parents, educators, and students to be aware of these disguised vapes. The dangers they pose, both in terms of health risks and the potential for addiction, cannot be understated. It’s essential to stay informed and take proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our youth. Useful resources on this matter include the Tobacco Harm Reduction 101 site, 

Related News: ELFBAR Faces Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

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A fluent writer in English and Spanish, Raul comes to us with vast work experience in the tobacco industry. He has turned his sights to informing readers about vaping culture, safety, and news.

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