MONTROSE, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Montrose County School District has joined 80 other districts across the nation in a lawsuit against e-cigarette company Juul.
The district says they want the company’s products away from their students.
“When you look at the area of Colorado that Montrose County School district is in, we are number one in teen vaping,” said Superintendent Stephen Schiell. “Somebody is taking advantage of our students, and that’s Juul.”
Schiell says the company has put out fraudulent advertising, that targeted young teens and kids, and he has specific objectives in mind with this litigation.
“..to quit selling it like its candy, and to stop selling it like it’s a great alternative to smoking,” Schiell said.
Juul did give us a statement, saying in part they will work to, “Combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes.”
The company also said they have halted their television, print, and digital advertising.
Lawyers working the case say they are holding Juul responsible for e-cigarettes and vapes getting into schools.
“We want them to remediate the problems that have been created through their advertising,” said William Shinoff, from the Frantz Law Group. “One way we think they can do that is by educating the students on the harms of their products.”
The legal team is seeking funding from Juul for educational programs for students.
“What we’re seeing is a big issue of putting profits over health,” Shinoff said.
In this suit, lawyers also have concerns with school districts across the country.
William Shinoff cited one scenario at a district outside of western Colorado:
“When we are seeing school districts finding these products on third graders, and the federal government is involved on why we are seeing this epidemic, I think the company has to take the right measures,” Shinoff said.
Lawyers say they’ll be filing for the case in the next few days, but they hope to have the trial started by summer of 2021.
Here’s Juul’s full statement:
“We will continue to reset the vapor category in the U.S. and seek to earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, legislators, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes. As part of that process in the U.S., we are preparing comprehensive and scientifically rigorous Premarket Tobacco Product Applications, stopped the sale of flavored products other than Tobacco and Menthol in November of last year, halted our television, print and digital product advertising and support the Administration’s final flavor policy. Our customer base is the world’s 1 billion adult smokers. We will respond to the allegations in the complaint through the appropriate legal channels.”