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HINSDALE, Ill. (AP) — Educators in the Chicago suburbs say they’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of students caught vaping on campus.

Teenagers use devices such as JUULs and e-cigarettes. The former is a slim, rectangular device that resembles a USB flash drive, and the latter looks like a highlighter marker, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Illinois law prohibits anyone 17 and younger from buying or possessing tobacco of any kind, and state lawmakers are considering a bill to raise the age to 21. The legal age for purchasing tobacco is 21 in more than a dozen cities across the state, including Chicago.

But local students still sneak vaping devices into backpacks, shirt sleeves and lockers.

School administrators worry that the new ways to get doses of nicotine are making the illegal habit more appealing to students and more difficult for teachers to catch.

“There’s a glory to this,” said Bill Walsh, principal at Hinsdale Central High School. “I don’t think students understand what the long-term effect is.”

Walsh said at least 30 vaping devices were confiscated last month, compared with less than a handful each year in previous years.

Campus supervisors at Naperville Central High School have been instructed to make frequent stops in bathrooms, where students are likely to use vaping devices. Dean of students Mike Stock said vaping devices can be difficult to detect because they leave behind fruit and candy scents, and can easily be tucked into a backpack or shirt sleeve.

Health experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report last month showing that young people who start with e-cigarettes are more likely to transition to combustible cigarette use, which puts them at higher risk for addiction.


Information from: Chicago Tribune,