South Carolina School Districts Join Juul Vaping Companies Lawsuit

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South Carolina School Districts Join Juul Vaping Companies Lawsuit
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Juul is largely credited with the youth vaping epidemic that has many parents and pediatricians alike concerned for the welfare of high school-age students. This concern led to a multi-state, multi-district lawsuit against Juul and other prominent vaping manufacturers, alleging that the companies deliberately marketed their products to underage users, resulting in serious health problems for students, distraction from academics, and additional expenses for school districts attempting to manage the problem.

Juul products contain unusually high amounts of nicotine and dangerous chemicals.

According to a study by the Truth Initiative, two-thirds of Juul users between the ages of 15 and 24 were entirely unaware of how much nicotine they were taking into their bodies. A superintendent for Greenwood School District 52 in South Carolina pointed out that one Juul container is equivalent to smoking 21 cigarettes, a fact that most students are unaware of. Dr. Deborah Greenhouse, a pediatrician with Prisma Health, pointed out that: “Teenagers and young adults who vape can develop a severe respiratory illness, including collapsed lungs.” She added that many of the teens who visited her office were so addicted to vaping “...that they are neglecting their school work and they’re failing their classes. Kids that were planning on going to college no longer are because all they can focus on is where their next hit on their Juul is going to come from.”

The lawsuit alleges that Juul and other vaping companies marketed their products with highschoolers in mind.

Juul was one of the first vape manufacturers to offer nicotine capsules in a wide variety of flavors, many of which are foreseeably attractive to underage users. With flavors like “fruit medley”, “lemon twist”, and “sweet and sour” flavors, the complaint points out that these manufacturers should have been able to predict the appeal these flavors would have to underage users, and even go so far as to allege that their marketing was intentionally geared toward youth.

Adding to the problem of the fun and exciting vape flavors is what those flavors actually consist of. In addition to the highly addictive amount of nicotine in the product, the chemicals used to formulate some of the more popular flavors have also been linked to lung and throat damage that can even be life-threatening.

Schools across the country have taken deliberate and often expensive steps to address the teen vaping epidemic.

As students' school work suffered across the country as a result of vape addiction, educators searched for ways to combat the issue. While some of these measures have been effective, they typically resulted in additional expenses for school districts. Some of these measures include hiring extra staff to monitor e-cigarette use in bathrooms, hallways, and other places where students may try to sneak a vape; installing expensive vape detectors in these and other areas; and investing in anti-vaping programs to educate students and parents about the addictive and chemical dangers of the nicotine and flavors used in vaping devices.

District 52 in Greenwood, South Carolina was one of the most recent to join in the litigation.

Educators around the country are banding together to address the problems allegedly inspired by Juul and similar vape manufacturers, particularly in regard to their marketing strategies. Other districts joining the lawsuit in South Carolina alone include Greenville County Schools, Anderson One, Lexington School District One, and Charleston County Schools. If the lawsuit succeeds, these vaping manufacturers may be required to compensate not only the school districts for their losses, but may also be required to pay punitive damages to discourage these and other companies from engaging in similarly dubious marketing in the future.

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