Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Juul is beginning to face consequences as the epidemic of e-cigarettes and Juul products are causing students to become more addicted. Nearly 100 school districts across the country are suing Juul and other e-cigarette manufacturers to regain the money they dedicated towards prevention programs, counseling, and treatment. The lawsuits came from small, rural districts in Mississippi all the way to the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest school system--showing that the effects of Juul have no particular place. The lawsuit highlights how these companies are not practicing consumer-protection as the schools are the main ones to fund programs that aid the students who are becoming addicted. Instead of putting that money toward instruction, schools are forced to help treat their students.
The main concern over the lawsuits is if the court will be in favor of the companies as it is unclear if the manufacturers are directly responsible for any harm the schools had with students who are addicted to vaping. However, the districts believe they have a strong argument against the companies since there were advertisements that targeted young teens. Especially because Juul has been criticized for using their marketing on social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, even having “influencers” promote Juul’s candy and fruit-flavored products. Since then, Juul has taken down its flavored products and no longer advertises their products. Juul and other companies involved have not commented about the lawsuits as of April 23, 2020.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of February 18, 2020, there are 2,807 cases of people hospitalized from EVALI, a lung injury caused by e-cigarettes or vaping usage, in all 50 states. There have also been 68 confirmed deaths in 29 states and the District of Columbia caused by EVALI. The World Health Organization has also advised those who smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or use vaping products to be extra cautious during this time as they are more likely to contract COVID-19 and have aggravated symptoms as their lungs are more vulnerable non-smokers.