School districts across the Bay Area have sued Juul Labs, alleging the vaping company targeted minors with its marketing methods.
The Bay Area districts are the latest in a slew of school districts and other parent and youth groups across the country to challenge Juul’s marketing practices.
The lawsuits seek damages for marketing efforts that specifically targeted kids younger than 18 with messaging designed to appeal to minors, according to school district officials.
The districts also hope to change Juul’s marketing practices that encourage youth to become addicted to their products.
San Francisco Unified School District, Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District and three school districts in San Mateo County (Cabrillo Unified School District, San Mateo-Foster City School District and Jefferson Union High School District) had filed suits as of Monday.
The San Mateo County Office of Education and Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee announced a lawsuit Tuesday.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will handle the cases, according to the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District.
"We still do not know the extent of vaping’s health consequences for our kids, but we know the results are serious," LVJUSD Superintendent Kelly Bowers said in a statement. "Educators see the impact of Juul’s teen-focused marketing efforts firsthand every day. Our schools must hold Juul accountable for misleading the children we serve."
The suits were filed by the Renne Public Law Group.
Juul released the following statement Tuesday:
"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."