The Campbell Union High School District has joined a growing group of school districts around California in filing suit against e-cigarette giant Juul for its alleged role in promoting youth vaping among CUHSD students.
In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, CUHSD said it is seeking damages related to financial losses suffered from students being absent from class, the expenses needed to pay for school outreach and education programs and the cossts of hiring of staff to monitor students and enforce school restrictions on using e-cigarette products on school grounds.
Juul is the largest e-cigarette company in the United States, with an estimated 70% of the e-cigarette market. CUHSD’s lawsuit cites U.S. Food and Drug Administration data as saying there were 3.6 million middle and high-school-aged users of e-cigarette devices in the U.S. in 2018.
According to the lawsuit, CUHSD claims that Juul’s efforts to promote and advertise its vaping devices have resulted in “a dramatic increase in student vaping in just two short years” CUHSD said the percentage of its students that currently use vaping devices grew by 300% between 2017 and 2019.
“CUHSD has already taken actions to reduce tobacco use among its students, but now it must address the new epidemic of youth vaping,” said the lawsuit.
In addition to CUHSD, Chico Unified School District filed suit against Juul in Butte County, and Davis Joint Unified School District filed suit against the company in Yolo County simultaneously.
This week’s lawsuits come on the heels of Cabrillo Unified School District, Jefferson Union High School District and San Mateo-Foster City School District filing similar suits against Juul in December 2019. Other California school districts that have sued Juul include Los Angeles Unified School District, Glendale Unified School District, San Diego Unified School District, Compton Unified School District, Anaheim Elementary School District, King City Union School District and Ceres Unified School District.
In a statement given to this news organization, a Juul spokesman dismissed the claims in school district’s lawsuits, saying that the company’s focus is upon “resetting the the vapor category in the U.S.” and working with public health officials, states attorneys general and government regulators to fight underage use of vaping products.
“Our customer base is the world’s 1 billion adult smokers and we do not intend to attract underage users,” Juul’s spokesman said. “To the extent these cases allege otherwise, they are without merit.”