School District Protects Students by Suing Vaping Companies

Part two of a three part series


Erin, Staff Writer

JUUL and other nicotine products are meant for those over 18 years of age, yet many high school students and underage minors have been known to purchase and use them everyday. The dangers of this is noticeable and there have been steps taken by the school district to ensure the safety of its students while these products are present.

Many believe that suing will not bring about change, though the subject of it will most likely cause awareness among the community including teachers and students themselves. 

Within the school, students do not see a benefit in suing this company, but the majority of them are also the reason why this vaping lawsuit is occurring. They are growing increasingly unaware of how dangerous these products are becoming. Those employed by the school, on the other hand, had a different opinion, thinking that this lawsuit represents a positive course of action.

Talking to the school nurses, they were neutral on the subject but believed that it would affect and protect those in the community more than the school itself, saying, “I feel like it will affect the people in the community and the companies will stop selling nearby”. They mentioned that if the lawsuit goes through, vaping products would no longer be easy to find. The one nurse herself even said that she was “scared to come into work because of the fear that students would be passed out in the hallways”.

The FDA (Food and Drug Association) sent a letter to the JUUL company, firing a warning shot regarding JUUL’s violation of teen marketing laws. The article mentioned health experts opinion, saying that “long-term consequences of vaping are unknown. JUUL is the nation’s largest producer of vaping products and has previously come under fire for enticing a whole new generation to become hooked on nicotine.” The JUUL company is marketing their product as 99% safer than cigarettes, yet this statement is false, proven so by the FDA. Experts continue to study the product extensively, hoping to learn more about the epidemic that increasingly threats youth. Even a teenager was quoted when speaking to a congressman about the product, saying that “the product was, quote, ‘totally safe.’”

The FDA is not the only organization that puts a downfall to the JUUL company, but also the company itself is making dangerous mistakes. Recently the news was broadcasted that JUUL has shipped over a million contaminated pods. It was learned that 250,000 mint refill kits, “the equivalent of one million pods were manufactured with the contaminated e-liquid, shipped to retailers, and sold to customers. The lawsuit does not specify what the batches were allegedly contaminated with.”

The dangers flow into the school itself which is what caused the lawsuit to take place. It is hoped by the school district that the outcome can help the students health and safety. In an interview with Dr. Harner, he proved his case about how dangerous he sees this problem among the high schools.

The incident that recently happened was among three students though only two were shown in the news. The three students included one middle schooler and two high schoolers that were overcome with vaping. He said that in the PAYS survey among the seniors, “50% as of 2019 said that they vaped compared to 37% as of 2015.” It has increased drastically over the course of four years, with “83% vaped with nicotine and the other 27% with THC.”

Dr. Harner also expresses his concern for the outcome that comes with vaping on school property. In December of 2018, he wrote on his blog that, “ any student in possession of vaping material or vaping on QCSD property will be fined $50 for the first offense, $100 for each offense thereafter.” He also said that he was worried about such a high percentage of students that are vaping as of 2019. Getting caught can lead to a criminal charge and gets put on their permanent record. Worried that this could encompass so many students, he is expecting a tightening of rules so that vaping is decriminalized in the case that all those students were to be caught.

Director of Communications for Quakertown School District, Gary Weckselblatt continues to express his own thoughts on dangers saying that, “Vaping doesn’t have instant impacts. People are dying 6 months to a year after vaping.” 

In total, with all these ideas and views running together, there is an increasing concern of the public to note the health of teenagers in the school district and others in the community. To protect the students, this lawsuit was a decision well made.