The school district in Florida’s most densely populated county has weighed in on a rapidly-expanding lawsuit against Juul e-cigarettes, accusing the manufacturer of causing significant harm to its students. The School Board of Pinellas County Schools voted unanimously to join three other Florida school districts, as well as almost 100 districts nationally who are accusing the company of marketing to teens and even younger children with the knowledge that their product was both addictive and harmful.
Speaking of the harm that Juul e-cigarettes have done to the district’s student body, Pinellas County Superintendent Mike Grego called vaping in general “an attack on local students.” The district reports troubling statistics that drove them to join the national suit, including a 738 percent increase in the number of students enrolled in the county’s tobacco clinic over the last two years: the enrollment is a required outcome for students caught with smoking products on campus. Teachers and other school officials have found students using the products in school hallways, in bathrooms, and even in classrooms.
Juul E-Cigarettes Lawsuit Viewed As Harmful
Though the vaping products’ manufacturers claim that it is safer than cigarette smoking, the CDC and others have expressed concern about medical harm that comes from Juul e-cigarettes and other products, including the sudden collapse of lung tissue. There have also been dire warnings from medical experts including the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General regarding potential harm specific to young people, including permanent effects on brain development.
At the heart of the lawsuits being filed specifically by school districts around the country is the concern that Juul e-cigarette marketing specifically targeted young people, and that their marketing campaign was furthered by the sale of flavored products that would be particularly appealing to teens. Studies have shown that the vapor that users inhale when using the products contain numerous harmul chemicals including diacetyl and heavy metals including nickel, lead, and tin.