Recently, the Olathe School District decided to pursue a lawsuit against JUUL, America’s largest E-Cigarette retailer.
The main motive for this lawsuit is the belief that JUUL has provided a harmful distraction from education. According to the CDC and US health officials, more than 20 percent of high school students use, or have used, electronic cigarettes. Additionally, between 2011 and 2018, the number of high schoolers that regularly vape has increased by 20 percent.
“This new data show that America faces an epidemic of youth e-cigarette use, which threatens to engulf a new generation in nicotine addiction,” Alex Azar, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a news release.
On September 27th, the district released a press release explaining why they have decided to sue JUUL. Superintendent John Allison explained that the lawsuit will not affect students or staff directly, but that the goal of the lawsuit is to decrease vaping in Olathe schools.
“As a Board of Education, we have a duty to do what’s right for students, the community and our future generations. Vaping is an epidemic and as community leaders, we’re taking the lead to protect our students and future leaders. The hidden dangers of vaping are triggering a health crisis and we’re taking action,” Board of Education President Shannon Wicklife said.
Olathe North is no exception to the newfound increase of vaping. An anonymous student admits to vaping, and claims that it helps him relieve stress.
“I don’t think legal action should take place for students who vape, maybe suspension,” says the student.
This isn’t JUUL’s first experience with law suits. St. Charles, Missouri, another public school district, has decided to sue the company as well, with the district stating the company is guilty of “youth-targeted product design and marketing, and years of misstatements and omissions regarding its products, Juul succeeded in addicting a generation of youth to nicotine,” in its lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in St. Louis.
Parents of students have expressed concerns around the lawsuit, questioning if it will negatively impact their child’s education.
Despite reaching out to JUUL, the company was unavailable for comment. As of now, they have also not released any public statements regarding the lawsuits.