The Anaheim Elementary School District has joined the Los Angeles Unified School District and the San Diego Unified School District with a lawsuit against Juul Labs, Inc., the leading e-cigarette manufacturer, for negligently damaging the health of AESD students and causing public nuisance. Through targeted and deceptive marketing, Juul Labs has been capturing children’s interest in e-cigarette products as early as elementary school, not only exposing our students to the harmful products, but also influencing their predisposition to engage in this unhealthy behavior once they leave elementary school, creating a youth vaping epidemic.
The AESD Board of Education stands in support of the District as it pursues legal action through the lawsuit.
“Accountability is important, especially when deliberate practices lead to the harm of children,” said AESD Board President, Dr. J. Paolo Magcalas, “and the marketing practices of the e-cigarette industry have deliberately been aimed at children with direly harmful consequences.”
Throughout the country, there have been medical cases highlighting the severe health risks associated with vaping, including hospitalizations and evidence of irreversible health damage. For years, AESD has invested heavily in teaching students about the dangers of smoking and using tobacco, as well as equipping them, through educational efforts, with the knowledge to make healthy tobacco-related decisions.
However, these educational efforts have been circumvented through misleading marketing efforts used by the e-cigarette industry seemingly intended to target children. Practices such as selling candy flavored and fruit flavored products, advertising in ways that entice children to seek out these devices, and minimizing student perceptions of how harmful these products are to their health have been employed with great success by this industry.
The District recognizes there is an increasing and immediate need to create and fund intervention programs for the well-being of AESD students and their families. Although vaping is most prevalent among youth in junior high and high school, incidents have been encountered among elementary school students, including bringing vaping paraphernalia to school, which detracts from learning and diverts school resources to combat the issue.
“It is our moral imperative to demand accountability from those that deliberately target our students to engage in harmful behavior and to ensure that these negligent practices stop,” said AESD Superintendent Dr. Christopher Downing. “It is our goal to expand our educational efforts by teaching our students and emphasizing to their families the danger of using these vaping products.”
The Anaheim Elementary School District filed the lawsuit in Orange County with the Superior Court of the State of California the morning of December 19, 2019, and has been assigned case number 30-2019-01119386-CU-MT-CXC.
This article was released by Anaheim Elementary School District.