MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District has joined 14 other California school districts in a lawsuit against JUUL Labs Inc., according to a release on BusinessWire.
The release said the districts are suing the company for its role in creating an e-cigarette epidemic and a resurgence of nicotine addition in youth that affects the educational and learning environment.
It is not the first Central Coast school to join the lawsuit. The King City Union School District filed the lawsuit last week, according to the law firms Baron & Budd and Panish Shea & Boyle. Other districts include Los Angeles Unified, San Diego Unified, Glendale Unified, Compton Unified, Anaheim Elementary, Ceres Unified, Chico Unified, Davis Joint Unified, Campbell Union High School, Poway Unified, Rocklin Unified, Alcanes Union High School and Anaheim Union High School.
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, or a court-ordered prohibition against an act, and abatement remedy, or a removal of a problem. They districts are also seeking compensation for damages to relieve financial losses resulting from students missing school, costs of outreach and education and costs related to enforcement restrictions, according to the BusinessWire release.
“As a result (of the increase), schools have had to respond with administrative time, increased staffing, interventions and we wanted to join this lawsuit because we think JUUL should be held responsible for the targeting of marketing to minors that helped cause this epidemic,” said MPUSD Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh.
The CDC said emergency department visits related to e-cigarettes or vaping sharply increased in August 2019 and peaked in September. As of Jan. 21, there were 2,711 total hospitalizations and deaths related to EVALI reported from all 50 states. 60 deaths were confirmed in 27 states. The CDC said e-cigarette or vaping products containing THC are related to most EVALI cases, but that there is not enough evidence to rule out other chemicals contributing to the cases.