Vape pens

In her office at Boulder High School, the assistant principal has a large cardboard box where she can toss the spoils of her ongoing battle with the newest student addiction.

"This is what I call the box of death," says Kristen Lewis. "This is everything that we've confiscated."

The link between vaping and severe lung problems is getting a lot of attention.

But scientists say they're also worried about vaping's effect on teenage brains.

"Unfortunately, the brain problems and challenges may be things that we see later on down the road," says Nii Addy, associate professor of psychiatry and cellular and molecular physiology at Yale School of Medicine.

How To Talk To Teens About Vaping

Oct 6, 2019

Updated on Oct. 23 5:14 p.m. ET

Vape pens are easy to conceal, they're easy to confuse with other electronic gadgets like USB flash drives, and they generally don't leave lingering smells on clothes. All these things make them appealing to underage users, and confounding to parents. Gone are the days when sniffing a teenager's jacket or gym bag counted as passive drug screening. Now if parents want to know if their teens are vaping nicotine or cannabis, their best bet is a good old fashioned conversation.