La Conner school district brings lawsuit against Juul e-cigs for ‘targeting kids’
The La Conner School District in Skagit County is one of four school districts across the country suing the company Juul, the largest e-cigarette maker in the country. Superintendent Whitney Meissner says the device is specifically targeting kids. So she got involved.
“I think it’s impacting both the students who are using it and the students who are noticing other students using it,” she told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “They’re very easy to conceal. They look like things kids would typically have in a classroom, like a flash drive or a pen, and that’s hard for us to regulate.”
“We’re also hearing from some kids that when they watch other kids use the devices, it’s scaring them. It makes the bathrooms crowded and sometimes they feel unsafe. So we’re trying to address all of that.”
Washington’s State Board of Health passed a ban on all flavored vaping products Wednesday afternoon. According to the Healthy Youth Survey, vaping among Washington State 10th graders rose from 13 to 21 percent between 2016 and 2018, and among 12th graders it increased from 20 to 30 percent. Vaping-related lung disease is linked to more than a dozen deaths nationwide.
Why specifically is Superintendent Meissner focusing on Juul, considering that they haven’t necessarily been tied to any cases in the La Conner district?
“I think that there’s been a lot of recent publicity about the heightened dangers with people becoming very ill and even dying as a result of using Juul products. And we want to make sure that our children are not going to be on the receiving end of that kind of detrimental impact,” she said.
“I think when you create devices that look like other things that kids use, and when you put flavors in your liquids that are flavors that are attractive to children, and when you create marketing campaigns that have pictures of young-looking people doing cool things, it’s very difficult for me to understand how that wouldn’t be targeting children.”
As Jason noted in his debate with Superintendent Meissner, we don’t take this legal approach with liquor companies, since there are liquors like vodka that have flavors which are very similar if not the same as Juul device flavors. And there are not lawsuits against vodka makers or cider makers or beer makers.
“If there are companies that are creating flavors that are harmful to the children that are going to be ingested by children, they should be held accountable,” she said. “The main difference is I haven’t yet seen a vodka company that is marketing something that is easy to conceal and carry into a school campus and to use without being observed.”