In 2019, 1 out of every 10 middle school students and more than 1 out of every 4 high school students in the United States reported using e-cigarettes within the last 30 days.
From 2011 to 2019, the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose considerably. In 2011, 0.6% of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, and by 2019 10.5% of middle school students used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. At the high school level, 1.5% of students reported using e-cigarettes in the last thirty days during 2011, and by 2019 27.5% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days.
School Districts Around the Country Are Fighting Back
School districts cannot sue e-cigarette makers, like JUUL Labs, to seek personal injury damages on behalf of individual students. However, more than a dozen school districts around the country have sued JUUL and other e-cigarette manufacturers for financial losses the school districts incurred trying to fight to the vaping epidemic.
The school districts accuse JUUL Labs of:
- Illegal marketing to minors
- Gross negligence
- Being a public nuisance by creating an epidemic of nicotine use among students
The school districts claim that because vaping became a problem so fast, there is little research on how to prevent and stop e-cigarette use among students. Therefore, the school districts have had to spend significant amounts of money to:
- Hire additional staff to monitor bathrooms and hallways
- Install vaping detection systems such as vaping sensors
- Modifying bathrooms to remove doors
- Ban USB flash drives that resemble vaping products and find other ways for faculty, staff, and students to store work
- Provide programs to deal with nicotine addiction
Additionally, principals and other school administrators have had to spend significant amounts of time disciplining students and working to prevent vaping on campus which took valuable time away from their other job responsibilities. Likewise, teachers have lost instructional time because they have been addressing vaping issues. Some of the districts also allege that vaping has negatively impacted the school culture in their districts and put students’ safety at risk.
Now, school districts are seeking compensation from JUUL and other vaping manufacturers for these losses and expenditures.
Parents Fight for Student Safety Too
The school district lawsuits are important. Most public school districts have extremely tight budgets, and diverting resources to deal with the vaping epidemic has a significant impact on students’ education.
However, the individual injuries suffered by children and teens also deserve compensation, and that compensation will not come from school district lawsuits. Instead, if your child is under the age of 18 and has been hurt by vaping, it is up to you as the parent to pursue a legal case against the e-cigarette maker. Once your child is 18, your child can file a lawsuit independently.
You, or your adult child, may seek compensation for your child’s serious lung disease or addiction. Legal damages could include your child’s past and future medical costs, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, physical pain, and emotional suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may also be possible.
Your time to pursue a JUUL injury case is limited by law. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact our experienced Wisconsin personal injury lawyers today if your child has been hurt. You don’t have to rely on a school district or the government to do the right thing. Instead, you can protect your child by calling us to find out more about your child’s rights and possible recovery.
We can schedule a free consultation in any of our Wisconsin offices—Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, or Wausau—or in your home or child’s hospital room. If we take your case, you won’t owe us any money unless your child makes a financial recovery.