SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A Bay Area school district took its battle against underage vaping to the courtroom Thursday, filing a lawsuit against Juul Labs for “cultivating and fostering an e-cigarette epidemic that disrupts the education and learning environment across the district.”
Campbell Union High School District officials said they filed the lawsuit after seeing the impact vaping was having on their students.
“Juul marketed these dangerous and addictive products to youth without warning,” Superintendent Dr. Robert Bravo said in a news release. “We are in the business of educating students, not cleaning up Juul’s health crisis.”
Sarah Foy, spokesperson for the Campbell Union High School District, told KPIX 5 their administrators are spending way too much of their valuable time patrolling the restrooms, looking for vaping offenders.
“We’re not in the business of combating Juul’s health crisis. We’re in the business of educating students,” said Foy. “It’s something that we’re constantly battling and that we’re having to focus on instead of focusing on making sure that our students are focused and ready for their future college and career.”
Spencer Hall, a freshman at Del Mar High, says the situation has gotten so bad in the bathrooms that he just holds it in all day.
“I definitely prefer not to use the school bathrooms,” said Hall. “I can usually wait til I get home, definitely.”
The district’s lawsuit was filed on the same day as those filed by the Davis Joint Unified School District and Chico Unified School District and follows those filed by the Los Angeles Unified School District, San Diego Unified School District, Glendale Unified School District, Compton Unified School District, King City Union School District, Ceres Unified School District and Anaheim Elementary School District.
The lawsuit seeks injunction and abatement to stop the e-cigarette epidemic, which has severely impacted the district by interfering with normal school operations.
It also seeks compensatory damages to provide relief from the district’s financial losses as a result of students being absent from school, coordinating outreach and education programs regarding the health risks of vaping, and staff enforcement needed to monitor the use of e-cigarettes on campus.
Juul has not issued a response to the lawsuit. KPIX 5 has reached out to the San Francisco-based company for a comment.
Since entering the market in 2015, Juul has dominated the e-cigarette industry and now controls over 70 percent of the market. Reports found in 2018, 4.9 million middle and high school students used tobacco products, with 3.6 million of those students using e-cigarettes.