BEAUMONT — In an alarming trend that's sweeping the country the number of teens vaping and using e-cigarettes has spiked.
The numbers are growing so rapidly, the Federal Drug Administration Commissioner calls it an epidemic.
Many vapes are small and some even look like a flash drive. Making them easy to sneak into school.
READ MORE | Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes
"A lot of school districts teachers have been finding these products all over the school and that's a scary thing," Nathaniel Fomby with Texans Standing Tall, a advocacy group for a smoke-free Texas.
Vapes aren't supposed be in school and they aren't supposed to be in the hands of anyone under 18. But statistics show vapes are.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates in 2017, more than 2.1 million teens smoked an e-cigarettes.
In Texas, one in four students have admitted to using one. Many are using in school.
"We saw a spike at the end of the 2017 school year so through last year, I guess, we had a large year of vapes and a number of kids and vapes confiscated from kids," Darwin Davis the principal of Lumberton High School said.
Davis worked with administrators to update the district's discipline policy to include vaping. He said educators nab about three devices per week. Students who are caught face an in school suspension.
Juul dominates when it comes to e-cigarette sales with more than 70 percent market share. Using a Juul device is refereed to as juuling. Juul offers flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy.
Critics, like the advocacy group Texans Standing Tall, said these flavors are part of the appeal.
"Flavor and look have a big part of it. Also, a lot of people think they don't contain nicotine," Fomby said.
Remember that study we mentioned; where a fourth teens admitted to vaping? Well, 63% of those users didn't know the product contained nicotine.
"They think it's safe because they don't understand the danger in it," Fomby said.
A Juul spokesperson tells 12News:
"JUUL is intended for current adult smokers only. We cannot be more emphatic on this point: no young person or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL. Underage use of JUUL and any other vaping products is completely unacceptable to us and is directly opposed to our mission of eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative. We stand committed to working with those who want to keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people," Ted Kwong, Juul Media Relations & Communications said.
So how are these devices getting into the hands of teens? Critics don't think smoke shops are to blame.
"A lot of these kids are ordering them online and they don't have the proper credentials to show that they are of age to purchase these vapes," Davis said.
A Juul spokesperson tells 12News, the company has implemented a stronger online age verification process. It's also making every effort not to market to teen and plans to have secret shopper's visit smoke shops. The spokesperson said the company plans to have secret shoppers visit more than 4,000 stores by the end of the year.
Still, for those educators who are confronted with this problem daily, it's not enough. They said until new regulations are implemented, parents need to step in.
"Research shows that vapes appear to be not as safe as we think. so do your research on it. do your homework on it before your allow your kid to participate," Davis said.