ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – The Francis Howell School District has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Juul Labs, joining several other districts across the country in suing the e-cigarette maker in the ongoing legal fight over the company's alleged responsibility for teen nicotine addiction.
The Francis Howell School District claims e-cigarette maker "Juul Labs" is harming their students, attributing low student performance to vaping.
In an interview with Clayton-based attorney Cindy Ormsby, she said the Francis Howell lawsuit is part of a coordinated package of litigation filed by school districts across the county, each dealing with similar crises of students addicted to nicotine.
“Many kids are vaping in the classroom and in the hall bathrooms,” Ormsby said. “It takes a lot of time away out of the classroom with teachers having to deal with the issue during class time.”
The 81-page complaint alleges that Juul intentionally marketed its products to children, created a public nuisance by getting kids addicted to nicotine, and also endangered its underage customers' health.
“Three years ago, the district gave 50 tobacco-related cases. Last year, they had more than 250. This year, more than that,” Ormsby said.
The lawsuit claims Juul Labs harmed students through deceptive marketing and misconduct.
The suit said Juul vaping products cause “significant and ongoing nicotine abuse and addiction” by students in Francis Howell schools. The district has hired additional staff to monitor bathrooms and hallways for vaping. A recent poll says more than 80 percent of students have tried vaping.
Juul said its product is only intended as a viable alternative for adult smokers.