In October of 2019, a spate of school systems, including LAUSD, filed lawsuits against the e-cigarette company Juul, claiming that it targeted teenagers and created an epidemic that has drained schools of resources.
Yesterday, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner explained his decision to sue Juul in the Washington Post piece, “My school district is suing Juul. Here’s why.” He argues that students sickened by vaping end up staying home and that their lack of attendance costs the district funding. Juul has a monopoly on the vaping market, which is why LAUSD targeting the e-cigarette company.
Juul has said that it does not intentionally target teen users, and that many of the people who got sick from vape usage did so because of illicit cartridges.
Is it fair for LAUSD and other school districts to seek damages from Juul?
We reached out to Juul. They were unable to join us for this segment, but provided this segment:
"We remain focused on resetting the vapor category in the U.S. and earning the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and convert adult smokers from combustible cigarettes. As part of that process, we recently stopped accepting orders for our Mint JUULpods in the U.S., suspended all broadcast, print, and digital product advertising in the U.S., are investing in scientific research to ensure the quality of our FDA Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) application and expanding our commitment to develop new technology to reduce youth use.
Our customer base is the world’s 1 billion adult smokers and we do not intend to attract underage users. To the extent these cases allege otherwise, they are without merit."
Austin Beutner, superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District
Guy Bentley, director of Consumer Freedom at Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank; his research interests include taxation and regulation of nicotine, tobacco and alcohol