In a matter of days, the School District of Lee County will listen to attorneys pitching a class-action lawsuit against the electronic cigarette company, Juul. The lawsuit goes after damages for the money schools spent to fight the vaping crisis.
Through prevention and education, Lee County schools have been working with students and parents to steer kids away from tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. It has even increased security to monitor places where kids might use items like Juul.
“Ninty-five percent of our kids are doing the right thing,” Mary Fischer, the chair of the Lee County School Board. “And tobacco use has diminished over the years until the JUUL and the e-cigs came into being.”
Six years prior, Lee County schools had over 200 total tobacco-related offenses that included vaping. Last year, that number skyrocketed to over 900.
Fischer wants to send a clear message that your kids’ lives are important.
“That’s our future,” Fischer said. “So we really need to do everything that we can. So that’s why we’re going to hear the presentation.”
The presentation will take place on Friday at 1 p.m. at the Lee County School Board office. The public is invited to attend. Board members said they will need time to listen to the law firm and discuss whether they would like to join the lawsuit.
People WINK News spoke to in our community want to see Lee County schools join the legal battle.
“It is a business,” said Doug Whittle, a Fort Myers High School graduate. “But at the same time, it shouldn’t be marketing to kids. Just the same with alcohol and the same with cigarettes.”
Whittle uses vaping products himself, even if he supports the idea of taking legal action.
“I honestly think that I’m supportive of it because I don’t want people to end up,” Whittle said. “I mean, I’m not permanently vaping. But I think it’s very easy to start.”