Davis Joint Unified School District files lawsuit against Juul over ‘e-cigarette epidemic’ – Sacramento Bee

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 file photo, a man using an electronic cigarette exhales in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. A judge has cleared the way for Montana to temporarily ban the sale of flavored e-Sen. Jerry Hill from San Mateo, CA has reintroduced a bill that would ban all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, going further than Trump’s ban. 30 lawmakers have backed it so far. and other flavored vaping products. State officials say they plan to implement the ban Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak,File)

FILE – In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 file photo, a man using an electronic cigarette exhales in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. A judge has cleared the way for Montana to temporarily ban the sale of flavored e-Sen. Jerry Hill from San Mateo, CA has reintroduced a bill that would ban all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, going further than Trump’s ban. 30 lawmakers have backed it so far. and other flavored vaping products. State officials say they plan to implement the ban Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak,File) AP

The Davis Joint Unified School District has joined a growing number of school districts across the country, filing a lawsuit Wednesday against the leading tobacco vaporizer company Juul for its role in “cultivating and fostering an e-cigarette epidemic.”

In a news release, DJUSD said it filed its suit against Juul alongside Northern California’s Chico Unified School District and the Campbell Union High School District in San Jose, which both filed similar lawsuits Wednesday, alleging that the use of tobacco vaporizers among youth has disrupted its learning environment.

The school district is seeking an injunction to remedy the vape epidemic and compensation to account for its increased absences, e-cigarette outreach programs and the cost of staffing needed to monitor schools and enforce tobacco policies on campuses.

“Davis Joint Unified is holding JUUL accountable for marketing dangerous products to youth, which has, in turn, wasted resources intended for education,” district superintendent John Bowes said in a prepared statement. “Our students and community deserve better.”

In late 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a health advisory declaring the increase in youth e-cigarette use an epidemic and warning of the potential damage to learning, memory and attention that vape products can cause.

Since the introduction of retail e-cigarettes in the mid-2000s, vaping among youth has skyrocketed, and as of 2018, one in every five high school students in the country vaped, according to the Surgeon General.

Davis Joint Unified argues that Juul’s marketing strategy has been to aggressively target school-age youth in order to grow its customer base over time.

The lawsuit comes amid a debate in the California State Legislature over flavored tobacco products. A state senator introduced a bill earlier this month aimed to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products statewide.

Starting Jan. 1, Sacramento has been enforcing its own ban on flavored tobacco products.

Many other California school districts have filed lawsuits against Juul, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, the San Diego Unified School District, the Glendale Unified School District, the Compton Unified School District, the King City Union School District, the Ceres Unified School District and the Anaheim Elementary School District.

The Guardian reported in December that districts across the country have recently filed similar lawsuits against the San Francisco-based vaporizer behemoth.

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Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.

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