- The Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday became the latest school district in the U.S. to file a lawsuit against San Francisco-based Juul Labs, saying the e-cigarette manufacturer is “impeding student learning and putting the health and safety” of students at risk.
- The nation’s second-largest school district joins those in St. Charles, Missouri; Olathe, Kansas; and Long Island, New York, which filed suits earlier this month. The Tucson Unified School District filed a lawsuit Monday, and more Arizona districts are expected to join, while other state government agencies and several individuals, including a Colorado teen who filed a lawsuit Monday, also have cases against Juul.
- “The money we are spending to deal with the trauma vaping is bringing into our schools, is money not spent on instruction,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a press release. “By filing this lawsuit today, we are taking a step toward ensuring those responsible will pay the price to repair the harm done to our students, our schools and the communities we serve.”
LAUSD’s class action lawsuit, filed in a California superior court, argues vaping is contributing to student absenteeism, which affects the district’s state funding. In his statement, Beutner also described increases in behavior problems and incidents of students vaping cannabis. Absenteeism and increases in suspensions related to vaping are also noted as reasons Arizona districts are hoping to hold Juul responsible.
A 2016 study of high school students in South Korea showed vaping was linked to increased asthma symptoms, which also led to more days absent from school. Vaping is also linked to use of other substances.
Experts recommend prevention and proactive measures to educate students about vaping and to direct students to counseling and support services instead of punishment.
While other e-cigarette brands are advertising on TV and radio, Juul announced earlier this month it is suspending all broadcast, print and digital advertising in the U.S. and will support and comply with the Trump administration’s final policy regarding flavored pods.
The company is also suspending the sale of non-tobacco, non-menthol-based flavors, pending review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“We must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders to combat underage use while providing an alternative to adult smokers,” K.C. Crosthwaite, the company’s new CEO, said in a statement.