East Bay school sys­tem joins law­suit against Juul

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - LOCAL NEWS | OBITUARIES - By Rick Hurd

An East Bay school district has joined the fight against teen va­p­ing and the com­pany they say is re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing it pop­u­lar with young peo­ple. The Acalanes Union High School District has joined four other dis­tricts in a law­suit against San Fran­cisco-based Juul Labs Inc. for its role in cul­ti­vat­ing what the district calls “an e-cig­a­rette epi­demic that dis­rupts the ed­u­ca­tion and learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment” across its district.

The suit was filed Tues­day in Con­tra Costa County Su­pe­rior Court. The Rocklin Uni­fied School District, Mon­terey Penin­sula Uni­fied School District, Ana­heim Union School District and Poway Uni­fied School District are all part of the law­suit. Ten other school dis­tricts — Los Angeles Uni­fied, San Diego Uni­fied, Glendale Uni­fied, Comp­ton Uni­fied, King City Union, Ceres Uni­fied, Ana­heim El­e­men­tary, Camp­bell Union, Chico Uni­fied and David Joint Uni­fied — all filed a law­suit as a group against Juul ear­lier in Jan­uary. The suit seeks an in­junc­tion to force Juul to stop pro­duc­ing the e-cig­a­rettes as well as com­pen­satory dam­ages for fi­nan­cial losses suf­fered by the dis­tricts as a re­sult of stu­dents be­ing ab­sent.

“The law­suit rep­re­sents a com­mit­ment by the board, the su­per­in­ten­dent and the com­mu­nity to end a health epi­demic for young peo­ple, Acalanes district As­so­ciate Su­per­in­ten­dent Amy McNa­mara said Thurs­day. “Juul has gone out of its way to mar­ket to young peo­ple, and they’ve suc­ceeded. We’re see­ing it ev­ery­where.”

The Acalanes district con­sists of Lafayette’s Acalanes High School, Mor­aga’s Cam­polindo High School, Orinda’s Mi­ra­monte High School and Wal­nut Creek’s Las Lo­mas High School, Acalanes Cen­ter for In­de­pen­dent Study al­ter­na­tive school and Acalanes Adult Ed­u­ca­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional

In­sti­tute on Drug Abuse, the num­ber of eci­garette users in­creased by 1.5 mil­lion from 2017 to 2018, the largest spike in any sub­stance recorded in 44 years.

“They’ve ab­so­lutely nor­mal­ized va­p­ing,” McNa­mara said. “I’ve had stu­dents come to the health cen­ter say­ing they want to stop, and they sim­ply can’t.”

A Juul spokesman said the com­pany is work­ing to earn back a bet­ter rep­u­ta­tion among the pub­lic.

“We re­main fo­cused on re­set­ting the va­por cat­e­gory in the United States and earn­ing the trust of so­ci­ety by work­ing co­op­er­a­tively with reg­u­la­tors, at­tor­neys gen­eral, pub­lic health of­fi­cials and other stake­hold­ers to com­bat un­der­age to­bacco use and con­vert adult smok­ers from com­bustible cig­a­rettes,” Ted Kwong wrote in an emailed state­ment.

Kwong also pointed to­ward Juul’s elim­i­na­tion in Novem­ber of all fla­vors but “Vir­ginia To­bacco,” “Clas­sic To­bacco” and men­thol as well as its elim­i­na­tion of its print, dig­i­tal and TV ad­ver­tis­ing.

“Our cus­tomer base is the world’s 1 bil­lion adult smok­ers,” Kwong said. “We do not intend to at­tract un­der­age users. To the ex­tent these cases al­lege oth­er­wise, they are with­out merit.”

Acalanes school district of­fi­cials say the in­crease in va­p­ing can be blamed on Juul, be­cause “it was mar­keted as a safe al­ter­na­tive,” McNa­mara said, “even though we don’t know yet if it is.”

The Na­tional In­sti­tute on Drug Abuse re­ported that nearly 5 mil­lion mid­dle and high school stu­dents used to­bacco prod­ucts in 2018 and that 3.6 mil­lion used e-cig­a­rettes. It also re­ported that va­p­ing ex­ceeds any other kind of sub­stance abuse among mid­dle school­ers and is sec­ond only to al­co­hol. More than 80 per­cent of high school se­niors na­tion­ally also re­ported that it was easy to get e-liq­uid with nico­tine for va­p­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.