A school board member told Pasadena Now, he would support joining a lawsuit against a popular vaping company.
The Glendale and Los Angeles unified school districts have announced plans to sue JUUL Labs, one of the country’s biggest nicotine vaping manufacturers.
In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the school districts claim JUUL has created “an epidemic” that impacts student learning and endangers the health of students in the districts.
The City Council and the school board are scheduled to meet tonight to discuss amending the city’s Tobacco’s ordinance to include flavored tobacco produces.
“I would support such a lawsuit,” said Scott Phelps. “The youth are affected by the targeted marketing and consequent health effects interfere with their chance to succeed in school. I hopt a lawsuit will lead to changes in what is allowed in the marketing, just as happened with regular cigarettes years ago with the Joe Camel marketing campaign which I think was forced to end.”
That campaign was shut down after critics began pointing out the 80s camel cigarettes mascot was designed to appeal to kids.
Joe Camel was the 80s mascot for Camel cigarettes.
In 1991, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that by age six nearly the same amount of children knew that “Joe Camel” was associated with cigarettes that knew the Disney Channel logo was associated with Mickey Mouse.
In 1991, Janet Mangini, a San Francisco-based attorney, brought a suit against R. J. Reynolds, challenging the company for targeting minors with its “Joe Camel” advertising campaign. In her complaint, Mangini alleged that teenage smokers accounted for $476 million of Camel cigarette sales in 1992, up from $6 million when the Joe Camel advertisements started in 1988.
Internal documents produced to the court in demonstrated the industry’s interest in targeting children as future smokers.
In July 1997, under pressure from the impending Mangini trial, Congress, and various public-interest groups, RJR announced it would settle out of court and voluntarily end its Joe Camel campaign.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra have also filed lawsuits in state court against the e-cigarette maker.
Attorneys general for the states of New York and North Carolina, and the District of Columbia have also filed lawsuits against JUUL.
“Nearly 1 in 10 high school students in L.A. County report using e-cigarettes. That is not by chance,” said L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn in a prepared statement. “JUUL has systematically targeted the teen market with everything from the design of their products to their advertisements. With this lawsuit we are going to hold JUUL accountable for their hand in this public health crisis and do what we can to stop this company from creating a new generation of nicotine addicts.”
JUUL recently announced it would stop selling some flavored electronic cigarettes, including mint, the most popular flavor among high school students, according to a recent government study.
“These results are unacceptable and that is why we must reset the vapor category in the US and earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with regulators, attorneys general, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use,” said JUUL Labs CEO K.C. Croshwaite in a prepared statement.
Lacey said JUUL’s decision to stop selling the flavored product had come too late and cited the many teens who are already caught up in vaping.
“Not only has vaping affected individual learning, it has led to a rise in student absences due to disciplinary action or sickness, which, in turn, causes a reduction in district state funding,” the DA’s civil complaint alleges. “Funds typically used for classroom instruction are now being diverted for educational assemblies, prevention and treatment for student vaping, as well as detection and enforcement of vaping. District property has also been affected as student bathrooms often cannot be utilized due to high instances of bathroom vaping.”