The nation's leading brand of e-cigarettes, Juul Labs, has rolled out new restrictions to try and curb teen use of their devices, which contain nicotine.
Juul, along with other e-cig companies, are under pressure from the Food and Drug Administration to tackle the growing problem among teens. The FDA announced in September there is an "epidemic of use of e-cigs among teens" and that it would "take steps to curtail the marketing and selling of flavored products."
In advance of any regulations the FDA might impose, Juul started enforcing new restrictions since Nov. 13 to help with the effort.
Among the new rules, they have suspended the sale of its flavored pods in more than 90,000 retail stores. These fruity flavors such as mango and cucumber are popular among youth. Juul Labs said only its tobacco, menthol and mint flavors will be sold in retail stores.
In the Tulsa metro area, a QuikTrip spokesperson said stores are already complying with the regulations.
Also, Juul Labs announced it will cap its pod sales to prevent buying in bulk and distributing it to minors. In addition, they have shut down their Facebook and Instagram accounts to stop promoting the devices and prevent interest among youth.
It's estimated 3 million high school students use the devices, which has become a problem in Green Country.
Jenks High Schools said there have been at least 45 violations this year, compared to 52 total violations in the 2017-2018 school year and less than 20 in the 2016-2017 year. They're trying to tackle the problem.
"They're giving a couple of options. One is to spend some time in-house. Another is to go to a tobacco education program," said Paula Lau, the high school's student assistance program coordinator.
Not only educators are alarmed by the use of e-cigs among teens. Health care experts say the substance is highly addictive.
"Nicotine is more addictive to the adolescent brain that it is to the adult brain, so it's in fact more dangerous for them," Tulsa pediatrician Dr. Don Zetik said.
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