Chelsea and Dexter schools join vaping lawsuit

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The Chelsea and Dexter school districts have joined a lawsuit against Juul and other vaping manufacturers as it relates to advertising to children.

Both districts boards of education approved decisions to join the litigation after reviewing a recommendation from the Thurn Law firm regarding a lawsuit against Juul Labs Inc, Altria, and other vaping product manufacturers in a California federal court.

The Frantz Law Group, a California law firm, is representing schools in that litigation. Since the suit was first introduced, other school districts throughout the U.S. have joined.

There will be no court costs to the Chelsea and Dexter districts for joining the suit.

According to the Chelsea School District Board of Education resolution, the “Lawsuit seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief associated with defendants marketing vaping products to students.”

The Dexter Community Schools Board of Education resolution stated, “The Board believes it is in the School’s best interests to authorize and direct the Superintendent to sign the attached Attorney-Client Fee Contract on behalf of the School and to take such other action as necessary to obtain monetary damages and injunctive relief for the School in the Lawsuit, subject to review by the School’s legal counsel.”

These specific concerns about Juul and other vaping manufacturers are not new in Michigan.

In 2020, the Michigan Attorney General’s office said the state of Michigan joined a coalition of states to investigate Juul’s marketing and sales practices, including targeting of youth, claims regarding nicotine content, and statements regarding risks, safety and effectiveness as a smoking cessation device.

The state attorney general’s office said in a statement last year that while traditional cigarette use had plummeted among youth, vaping was skyrocketing.

The attorney general’s office cited a study that looked at the percentage of high school students who used an electronic cigarette product during the past 30 days in different counties in 2015-16 and then compared it to 2017-18.

Washtenaw County went from 11.1 percent in 2015-2016 to 18.3 percent in 2017-2018, which was a 65 percent increase.

The source of this study is the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth “MiPHY,” which is an online student health survey offered by the Michigan Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to support local and regional needs assessment.

The MiPHY provides student results on health risk behaviors including substance use, violence, physical activity, nutrition, sexual behavior, and emotional health in grades 7, 9, and 11.

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