SCHOOL’S OUT, JUUL’S OUT

The school district has finally taken action against the juuling epidemic.

January 18, 2020

The Palm Beach County School District is among several other school districts nationwide that have made the decision to take action against the popular e-cigarette company, JUUL. The school district filed the lawsuit on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, and is currently demanding compensation because of the “direct and consequential economic injuries as a result of dealing with the JUUL epidemic” in schools across the district. 

The complaint accused JUUL of marketing its products towards teens and because of this marketing, some schools in the district have revised their schools’ code of conduct, and other schools have also been forced to create night classes for students who have been suspended because of vaping and juuling in school. The number of teens caught juuling in schools has risen and the CDC also stated that “the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose from 3.6 million in 2018 to 5.3 million in 2019 [nationwide].” 

The suit is currently countering claims made by the JUUL company, which stated in the past that e-cigarette use is safer than traditional cigarettes as the levels of nicotine in the products are lower than those of cigarettes. However, the Juul contained 5 percent nicotine and due to its concentration, can lead to addiction.

According to the National Center for Health Research, “The amount of nicotine in one Juul pod is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes” and teens often use one Juul pod per sitting and can become exposed to unsafe levels of nicotine that can have adverse health effects in the long run. Juuls not only contain nicotine, but they also contain products such as flavorings, glycerol and benzoic acid, which according to the Center for Disease Control, may cause abdominal pain, coughs and nausea if exposure to a Juul is constant. “Once you get hooked [to a juul] you can’t let it go and you constantly think about it, even if the buzz only lasts for a minute,” Phoeby Watson* stated. 

However, scientists are still uncertain about the true effects the prolonged use of a juul may have on one’s body and lungs. 

Created in 2015, the Juul was originally marketed as a product to help adults stop tobacco use; however, the company’s marketing campaigns stated otherwise. For example, JUUL has marketed its products on social media outlets, which are predominantly used by teens and it has also advertised its products in magazines such as Vice magazine, which claimed that it is the “#1 youth media company.” Hashtags for the Juul have also been created by the company such as #JUUL and #vaporized, which are also predominantly marketed for youth according to the complaint. 

Passed in 1998, the Master Agreement Settlement forbids cigarette manufacturers from advertising tobacco products to youth and indirectly or directly targeting people as well. However, JUUL Labs, Inc is not subject to the Master Settlement Agreement,” and therefore not regulated by the  Food and Drug Administration, the School District of Palm Beach County stated.

“The lawsuit would be of no cost to the school district and if they receive a settlement from Juul Labs, Inc, then 75 percent of it will go to the school district while the other 25 percent would be for the law firms representing the district,” according to the Boca Raton Tribune.

 

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