The Poway Unified School District has filed a lawsuit against Juul — joining 14 other California school districts, including San Diego Unified — for marketing its e-cigarettes and related products to children, attorneys said Tuesday.
Poway’s suit was among five new lawsuits filed Monday against the San Francisco-based vaping company, which could not immediately be reached for comment regarding the litigation.
Similar lawsuits were filed by schools districts in Los Angeles, Glendale, Compton and Anaheim. San Diego Unified filed suit earlier this month.
The lawsuits allege negligence and nuisance on the part of Juul, claiming its advertising campaigns targeting young people have caused an e-cigarette “epidemic,” which has “severely impacted” the school districts by interfering “with normal school operations.”
Poway Unified, the third-largest school district in the county serving around 36,000 students, saw a 1,000% increase in tobacco violations from the 2016-17 to 2017-18 school year, according to its suit.
The districts’ lawsuits also allege that e-cigarette use has caused then to suffer a financial loss, as they have been forced to spend money on outreach and education programs, vape detectors, video surveillance and staff to monitor e-cigarette use among students.
Student absences due to vaping-related issues have also hurt the districts financially, as student attendance is tied directly to revenue the district receives from the state, according to the lawsuits.
“These fifteen school districts, which represent and serve over one million students across California, are part of a statewide movement to hold Juul accountable for the expenditure of public and taxpayer resources required to respond to the vaping crisis,” plaintiffs’ attorney John Fiske said. “School districts of all shapes and sizes are standing up for their student communities — from northern, central and southern California, from urban, suburban and rural communities, and from large, medium and small — they are standing up.”
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