Students from two Long Island high schools who do not vape traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to testify before members of Congress about how their lives and education experience have been adversely affected by the vaping epidemic caused by JUUL and other vape companies.
The students, along with East Hampton High School Principal Adam Fine and Southampton High School Principal Dr. Brian Zahn, testified as part of an ongoing investigation by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies into deceptive marketing efforts by JUUL and other vape companies that preyed on youth.
As non-vapers, the students claimed they were also victims of the vaping epidemic because their schools were forced to cut back on school services in order to fund programs to deal with the vaping problem in their schools. The principals added that vaping was harming the health and emotional stability of students from all genders, races, ages and economic lines.
East Hampton students have even created a student task force called the Breathe in Change Initiative to educate middle school students about the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction.
“We applaud these students and principals for going to Washington to present the facts on the deadly intrusion of nicotine into their lives and the re-emergence of Big Tobacco into the lungs and brains of millions of young people,” said Beasley Allen attorney Andy Birchfield, who heads of the firm’s mass torts section. “An essential element of this vaping epidemic is missing if we are not listening to how this tragedy is affecting our children in their own words.”
Birchfield, along with Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, filed lawsuits on behalf of school districts in three states, seeking to protect students and recover resources spent fighting the vaping epidemic. The team also is representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives.
In October, East Hampton and Southampton high schools also presented Town Hall meetings and classroom workshops in their communities and schools to inform the public and students about vaping risks. The three lawyers on Beasley Allen’s JUUL litigation team also presented information about current litigation against e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers, and recent regulatory efforts to ban some vaping products at these events.