Alarmed by vaping’s harmful effects on student health and fed up with diverting money and staff to police the behavior on campus, a small but growing wave of school districts is suing e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs.
So far, more than a dozen districts have filed or joined lawsuits against JUUL Labs, including the nation’s second-largest, Los Angeles Unified.
One of the first to sue was the 600-student La Conner district, which sits on the Swinomish Channel in Washington state, about an hour north of Seattle.
In its lawsuit, La Conner argues JUUL Labs used marketing tactics similar to those used by tobacco companies to target minors like its students and hook youths on e-cigarettes.
The district—which has a large enrollment of Native American students— accuses the company of creating a public nuisance, endangering the health and safety of students, teachers, and the community, and costing the district money and time to respond to an increase in vaping on campus.
Superintendent Whitney Meissner discussed some highlights of how the vaping epidemic is taking a steep toll on her school community.
A version of this article appeared in the December 11, 2019 edition of Education Week as What the Youth Vaping Epidemic Costs Schools