The Los Angeles County Office of Education filed a lawsuit against JUUL Labs, Inc. Wednesday over an “e-cigarette epidemic” in schools, the agency said Thursday.
The education agency, which provides programs and services to 80 school districts, filed the suit in a coordinated proceeding with the San Diego County Office of Education, according to a news release from the L.A. County Office of Education.
The suit alleges that the electronic cigarette company had a role in encouraging and spreading a vaping epidemic in schools, disrupting the learning environment and interfering with school property and public resources, the release says.
“Our incredible progress in reducing youth tobacco use and nicotine addiction has now largely been reversed due to JUUL’s e-cigarette products and vaping,” Superintendent Debra Duardo said in a written statement. “While we seek compensation for the costs to our educational programs, our primary concern is the health of our young people.”
The suit seeks compensation for costs of alerting students and families to the risks of vaping, for enhanced staff monitoring and for installing vape detectors and surveillance systems.
Student vaping incidences throughout L.A. Unified schools — the second largest school district in the U.S. — have increased tenfold since 2013, according to LAUSD, which also filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs, Inc. in October.
School districts in Glendale, Compton, Anaheim and San Diego have also previously filed suits against the e-cigarette company.
“As a public agency committed to improving the lives of our students, we have to hold JUUL accountable for the way it has marketed its unsafe products to the communities we serve and lead,” Duardo said.
KTLA reached out to JUUL for comment Thursday.
The company stopped selling fruit and dessert flavors in October in response to growing backlash that blames JUUL for hooking teens to electronic cigarettes.