Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in September a $438.5 million settlement between JUUL Labs and 34 states and territories after a two-year investigation into the marketing and sales of e-cigarette manufacturers.
A multi-state investigation found that JUUL deliberately engaged in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth, even though its e-cigarettes were both illegal for them to buy and harmful to children, as reported at the time.
“Just as we began to make significant progress in reducing tobacco use among our youth, JUUL came along and attracted another generation,” Rosenblum said this fall.
Oregon, which is one of the leaders in this effort, should receive at least $18.8 million in the settlement. JUUL also agreed to refrain from marketing to youth, funding educational programs, portraying people under the age of 35 in any marketing, and a number of other measures.
But JUUL is not done in court. Now, local school districts are entering the fray.
Silver Falls School District According to a news report, Silver Falls joins more than 1,000 districts across the country that are filing lawsuits against e-cigarette manufacturers and sellers. Silverton officials said schools in the area, including Dallas, Dayton, McMinnville, Sheridan, Yamhill-Carlton and Willamin, are also submitting applications.
The defendants in the lawsuit are JUUL Labs, Inc. and Altria Group, Inc., the parent company of Philip Morris USA and one of the main investors of JUUL Labs.
Those defendants, Silver Falls officials alleged, launched youth media campaigns like “Doit4juul” and the viral “Evaporated” campaign, complete with launch parties, social media influencers and billboards in Times Square.
Silver Falls joins the fight against vaping companies
Silverton County officials say the rise in the number of teenagers addicted to nicotine is a public health crisis.
“Youth vaping is an epidemic in the United States, and Marion County is no exception,” Silverton school officials said in the release.
For 11th graders in Marion County, the rate of 30-day binge drinking increased from 8.2% in 2017 to 13.1% in 2019, district officials cited.
“Many young people also do not understand the dangers of vaping, that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and that vaping poses serious health risks,” the officials wrote. “This dramatic increase in youth vaping rates and ignorance of the risks is a direct result of the defendants’ advertising campaigns and marketing strategies aimed at teenagers and young adults.”
They explained that nicotine is a neurotoxin that poses a particular threat to the adolescent brain because it can damage brain development and have lasting effects on cognitive ability and mental health.
Research, including A The study was published in 2019 According to the National Library of Medicine, adolescent nicotine use biologically prepares the brain for addiction to other drugs, including alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine, and according to the publication, these changes are long-lasting.
“We have seen an increase in the number of students on district property each year,” Silver Falls Assistant Superintendent Dan Bush said in a statement. “Just in the first two months of the new school year, we’ve had multiple incidents, including a student at one of our K-5 elementary schools.”
The lawsuit alleges that JUUL and Altria violated the federal RICO statute, and that the defendants created and contributed to a public nuisance on the school grounds. The claim requires compensation for damage and its reduction.
“The defendants’ conduct has caused serious and lasting harm to our students — harm that will continue as these children age,” officials said in the release, adding that they believe the defendants should be help fund public health efforts. the youth vaping epidemic they’ve created.”
Silver Falls School Board President Jennifer Treger said board members unanimously supported the lawsuit.
The district hired Keller Rohrbeck partners Dean Kawamoto and Yuna Park as outside counsel for the trial.
Keller Rohrback is a Seattle law firm that also represents King County, Skagit County, Seattle Public Schools, Portland Public Schools and Milwaukee Public Schools in its lawsuit against JUUL and other defendants for “creating a youth vaping crisis.” in publication.
District officials said the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and will be part of a multidistrict litigation in San Francisco before Judge William Orrick III that will include other cases from around the country against JUUL and other defendants. .
Natalie Pate covers education for the Statesman Journal. Send him comments, questions and tips [email protected] or 503-399-6745. Follow her on Twitter @NataliePateGwin.