QCSD to Sue E-Cigarette, Vape Makers

School Board votes unanimously to authorize litigation against those who manufacture and market e-cigarettes and vaping products
Posted on 10/25/2019
Photo of a judge's gavel on a desk with electronic-cigarette and JUUL products

By Gary Weckselblatt

The Quakertown Community School District will be joining with other plaintiffs in going after companies that manufacture and market electronic-cigarettes and vaping products.

The School Board unanimously adopted a resolution Thursday night that authorized the law firm of Begley Carlin & Mandio and Wagstaff & Cartmell to initiate litigation against the appropriate parties “to compensate the district for damages suffered by the district and its students as a result of the manufacture, marketing, sale and use of electronic-cigarettes and vaping products, and to seek other appropriate relief.”

There is no cost to the district, solicitor Jeffrey Garton said.

“We haven’t even scratched the surface of the damage these things are doing to our kids,” Director Keith Micucci said. “From a health care perspective, we know it’s leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome. … I really feel strongly that these are marketed toward our most vulnerable population, which are our teenage students who are trying to figure out their way in the world.”

Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner said the number of Quakertown Community High School students who have vaped has increased dramatically. He said recently a student who became unconscious immediately after vaping in a bathroom stall with other students was taken from the high school by ambulance. The students were all sharing someone else’s vaping device that was laced with THC.

“It’s a serious problem,” he said. “It’s a growing problem at the high school. … This is serious business.”

Board President Steaven Kline agreed. “This is serious business. And I’m glad to see we’re talking about it and discussing things such as this.”

The resolution notes the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service has issued an advisory on e-cigarette use among youth, which states “We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.”

The Surgeon General’s report also states:

  • E-cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students increased 900% during 2011-2015
  • In 2018, more than 3.6 million youth currently use e-cigarettes

The Committee on Oversight and Reform of the U.S. House, following a review of 55,000 non-public documents of JUUL Labs, Inc., found that:

  • “JUUL deployed a sophisticated program to enter schools and convey its messaging directly to teenage children.”
  • “JUUL also targeted teenagers and children, as young as 8 years old, in summer camps and out-of-school programs.”
  • “JUUL recruited thousands of online ‘influencers’ to market to teens.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.

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