More school districts have filed lawsuits against JUUL seeking compensation for financial losses because they have had to redirect their resources to manage the effects of vaping among teens, a public health crisis that has escalated to epidemic proportions in recent years.
Ava R-I school district in rural southern Missouri, a town with a population of about 3,000, filed a lawsuit in federal court last month against JUUL alleging the vaping crisis has forced the school to use “significant resources to combat skyrocketing use of JUUL products by students.”
Like school districts in Kansas, Arizona, New York and California, Ava R-I calls out JUUL for targeting youth with flavored e-liquids, sleek vape device designs, and social media ads. By using tactics of Big Tobacco, JUUL has successfully “created an epidemic of nicotine use by students,” the Ava R-I school district’s complaint states. The company misled youth into believing that vaping was “totally safe,” while many of its vape products contained as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, according to the suit.
The students “would not fully realize the dangerous and addictive nature of JUUL products and the long-term complications nicotine addiction can present, or that, due to their youth, inexperience and/or immaturity of judgment, would recklessly disregard such risks,” the complaint continues.
Meanwhile, vaping among teens grew exponentially and, in turn, so did JUUL’s profits. In 2018, the company’s sales topped $1 billion, and 2019 revenues expected to reach $3 billion. As a result, school districts across the country have had to hire full-time staff to monitor hallways and bathrooms, and are spending upwards of $40,000 to install vaping detection systems to sniff out young vapers in action.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives. On Oct. 7 they also filed lawsuits on behalf of school districts in three states, which seek to protect students and recover resources spent fighting the vaping epidemic.