Lee County school district considers suing Juul as teen tobacco use skyrockets

Reporter: Sara Girard
Published: Updated:

More kids are getting caught using tobacco and schools say it’s because of e-cigarettes.

Now, the School District of Lee County is thinking about jumping into a lawsuit going after one of the biggest e-cigarette companies around: Juul.

One reason attorneys say Lee County schools should join a class action suit is Juul’s marking campaign.

“Unfortunately, Juul’s well-thought-out plan to addict an entire generation of youth to nicotine worked,” said attorney Jonathan Kieffer.

In one video, they explain that the strategy contributed to the rise in teen tobacco use.

We continue to see the impacts here with incidents of tobacco use in Lee County schools for the 2018-2019 school year topping 900.

The lawsuit, which includes schools across the country and three here in Florida, goes after damages for the money schools spent to fight the vaping crisis.

Kieffer says the exact damages are to be determined, but one contributing factor could be the hundreds of thousands of dollars the district spent on safety and security attendants hired, in part, to look for vaping in high school bathrooms.

“Educational programming aimed at prevention, to if it requires vape protectors in the schools, to counseling and treatment…,” Kieffer said.

Ultimately, the Lee County School Board decided they still have questions and need more time to decide whether or not to join in.

“I think it would be a good opportunity for us to talk to other school districts who have decided to join the suit and perhaps others who have been approached and decided not to and figure out why before we as a body have a deliberative discussion on it,” said Chris Patrica.

The issue will be discussed again at next week’s board meeting.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.