SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Juuling is the new trend among high school students, but this new fad is illegal for minors and officers say it can be harmful.
"It's a product marketed and sold just like cigarettes," said Alan Miller, Shelby County Chief Assistant District Attorney.
Miller is also the executive director of Compact 2020, a drug prevention initiative in Shelby County that's working to spread awareness to parents and educators about the dangers of JUULs.
"The biggest problem with JUULs is, it's just another less obvious way for kids to use a mind altering substance to address anxiety," said Miller.
He said what makes it even worst, it's hard for parents to detect.
"It's a small, slender device that's odorless and looks just like a USB Flash Drive. In fact, you can charge it up by sticking it into a USB port on your computer," said Miller.
He said the e-cigarette is ending up in schools throughout Shelby and Jefferson County, even though it's illegal for minors to use them.
"The JUUL devices and cartridges are available at probably 60 to 70 percent of the gas stations throughout Shelby County and I'm sure all of Jefferson County," said Miller.
And it comes with a price tag that's averaging about $40. But even the price isn't enough to deter teens from trying it.
"I think there is plenty of money out there for kids to get their hands on these things even if it's up charge for them to be able to purchase them illegally," he said.
Leaders with Compact 2020 are working to make parents aware. Miller said if parents don't get a handle on how children are handling their anxiety it could lead to substance stronger than JUULs.
"Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances that we know of. Anytime a child starts to learn to address their feelings of anxiety with that chemical, eventually they will move on from nicotine to something else," said Miller.
Compact 2020 will be in schools this month sharing this information will parents.