Schools in Dickson County have a problem with vaping.

This is what officials at the Ministry of Health and the Drug Free Dickson Coalition say.

Karrie Thompson and Amber Blue, from the Dickson County Department of Health, sent this message to the parents of William James Middle School students on February 5th.

Blue and Thompson teach a tobacco awareness course in a juvenile court.

All students in the school system with any tobacco product must attend the class before going to see Youth Court Judge Michael Meise.

"When we started this five years ago, it was almost all soaking and chewing," Thompson said. "Probably the last five months, they are all electronic cigarettes. We completely changed our presentation to focus mainly on (vaping). "

"We are really trying to tackle the problem because (the students) have no idea," added Blue.

Steve Sorrells, Director of Student Services for Dickson County, said: "We are aware that the problem of vaping in our schools is becoming more important and because it is odorless, it has been difficult for our administrators to identify offenders. "

Sorrells said the school system provides educators and students with the information provided by coalition leader Mark Cook.

Dickson is not alone, though.

In recent months, the Federal Drug Administration has described this phenomenon as an epidemic.

The FDA has banned the sale of sweet cigarette perfumes in sweet-flavored stores, allowing only tobacco, mint and menthol. At the time of the announcement of the ban, the big electronic cigarette maker Juul Labs has suspended the sale of its sweet flavors, such as mango, fruit, cream and chewing gum, as well as its campaigns in social media.

Other major electronic cigarette companies are Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic, which account for over 97% of the US electronic cigarette market, says the FDA.

"It will not go away for that reason," said Blue. "They're just going to change the way it looks like."

They stated that students considered vaping to be cleaner than cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products.

Thompson said the students were warned of the dangers of tobacco "but they do not connect electronic cigarettes to the same danger".

"When they come out with flavors like bubblegum and mountain dew and fruits, it's targeted at young people," Thompson said.

According to her, e-cigarettes are particularly attractive to young girls because their devices, like Juul, have been marketed as "fun" with bright colors and flavors.

In recent years, e-cigarettes have seen a "900%" increase in teen consumption.

Dustin Evans, head of resources at the William James Intermediate School, said that other members of his staff in charge of law enforcement in schools were working to educate students while respecting the rules of the school.

"It's a zero tolerance and, of course, they're being cited in a juvenile court," Evans said.

Evans said that the school had a problem of vaping among students.

Students normally purchase devices and refills online, or use devices from other students.

"This raises an entirely different kind of health problem," Thompson said.

How popularity has begun

The popular Juul e-cigarette looks like a USB key, can be used discreetly and without odor, which prevents teachers from catching students.

But nicotine and other chemicals are still present, as is the risk that people under the age of 25 who sweat open pathways in their brains that will make them more likely to become dependent on them. 39, other substances in adulthood, Smith said.

Electronic cigarettes started as an anti-smoking device in their childhood, but have been overtaken by the big tobacco companies and they do not want to lose customers. Instead, they appeal to younger people with small and elegant appliances and the mistaken belief that there is little trouble with steam.

Thompson said that it took decades and decades for research to reveal the dangers of cigarette use.

"It's this generation, at the age of 30 or 40, that researchers will examine and decide if it's a danger. We urge them not to be the guinea pigs for these new products coming out, "said Thompson.

– USA TODAY and the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle contributed to this report.