Juul State Lobbying

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2019, file photo, electronic cigarette pods are displayed for sale at a shop, in Biddeford, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Bonneville Joint School District 93 is joining many other school districts, including Teton School District 401, in a mass tort lawsuit against Juul Labs, the largest e-cigarette manufacturer in the world.

District 93’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution to join the lawsuit during its board meeting Wednesday night.

“I think the point of any lawsuit like this is to try to discourage that manufacturer from continuing in that practice and that should hopefully reduce the number of students that are adopting this habit when they shouldn’t be,” District 93 Superintendent Scott Woolstenhulme said during the meeting.

The Post Register reported on Sept. 24 that more than 500 school districts across 32 states have joined the lawsuit. District 401’s school board also approved a resolution to join the lawsuit on Sept. 13.  

The school districts in the lawsuit are represented by William Shinoff, an attorney with the Frantz Law Group in California.

Shinoff’s lawsuit alleges Juul intentionally targeted children to hook them to its products, creating a nicotine addiction and lifelong customers. This was done with kid-oriented advertising and flavored cartridges that were designed to appeal to children, the lawsuit claims.

Scott Woolstenhulme said during the meeting that the district already is spending money to prevent vaping on school grounds. Most high schools and middle schools in the district have invested in vape detectors in buildings, he said.

“There’s a pretty significant cost,” Woolstenhulme told the board. “I’d love to see us invest in some education materials to our students when they are caught with vapes.”

Shinoff told the Post Register in September that he was seeking Juul to provide funding to the school districts he is representing for methods to deter vaping at schools, educational resources and counseling support for students who may have developed an addiction to nicotine.

The first school district trial will occur in March 2022. Shinoff said in September he was unable to name the district.

The Jefferson Star reported on Oct. 6 that Rire School District 252 and West Jefferson School District 253 school boards also have decided to join the lawsuit.