Francis Howell sues JUUL

Blakelee Sutton, News Editor

This past Monday, The Francis Howell School District has made the decision to sue e-cigarette maker, JUUL. They’re claiming JUUL’s use of deceptive marketing and misconduct has harmed its student body’s overall health.
JUUL’s vaping products cause “significant and ongoing nicotine abuse and addiction by students at (Francis Howell) schools,” according to a statement on the lawsuit. Vaping at school “frustrates (the district’s) ability to achieve its educational goals.”
According to the St. Louis Dispatch, there were 54-nicotine related infractions among Francis Howell’s student body five years ago. This skyrocketed to 248 cases last year, three of which were in elementary schools. As a result, the district hired more employees to monitor hallways and bathrooms for any vaping activity.
The district also draws a problem with the advertisements the JUUL brand uses. They’re citing the colorful ads featuring attractive young people as a harmful influence on their student body. Instead of showing the harmful effects of the products, they’re shown in a positive light.
In response to the lawsuit, JUUL released an official statement clarifying their position.
“Our product has always only been intended to be a viable alternative for the one billion current adult smokers in the world. We have never marketed to youth and do not want any non-nicotine users to try our products. We have launched an aggressive action plan to combat underage use as it is antithetical to our mission.”
When asked about the situation, Robert Gatter, a law professor at St. Louis University, said that the lawsuit says a lot about the school district’s role in the community.
“They have an obligation to protect the welfare of their students,” Gatter said.