JUUL Labs Inc. is under fire in a new lawsuit alleging the company targets adolescents. As a result, many Florida high school students are addicted to vaping.
A family in Sarasota County recently sued JUUL Labs Inc., a popular e-cigarette company, over allegations that the company targets and exploits adolescents and gets them “hooked on the aerosol devices.” Some experts believe the devices “deliver a more powerful hit of nicotine than cigarettes,” which is a concern among many parents. It’s important to note, however, that this isn’t the first lawsuit of its kind filed against the e-cigarette company.
For starters, one mother in South Florida sued the company back in October 2018 claiming her “15-year-old son was addicted to the product and vaped up to 12 times a day.” For many concerned parents, the addictive nature of vaping products in a problem that only seems to be growing, so much so that parents at Seminole High School met up earlier this year in the “school’s auditorium to discuss what state and federal officials have deemed as an epidemic.” Jane Lucas, the principal at Seminole High School, said:
“It affects their health. It affects brain activity, and we see it marketed to younger and younger children.”
Jeffrey Cuttitta, a deputy with Pinellas County, chimed in on the matter and has advised parents to remain vigilant and “aware of their children’s activities.” He added, “They need to check their rooms, check their backpacks, check their social media, check their phones.”
Warnings about the e-cigarettes aren’t new, though. In fact, shortly after “Marlboro cigarette maker Altria purchased a 35 percent stake in JUUL for $12.8 billion in Dec. 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory.” As part of the advisory, HSS Secretary Alex Azar noted “the significant rate at which teenagers are picking up the habit.” He added:
“In the data sets we use, we have never seen the use of any substance by America’s young people rise as rapidly as e-cigarette use is rising.”
Just how many high school students are using vaping products, though? Well, according to data from Tobacco Free Florida, it’s estimated that nearly 25% of high school students in Florida were vaping in 2018. That’s a shocking 58% increase from 2017. So many Florida students are now vaping that “a 2018 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey showed that vaping has emerged as one of the most prevalent forms of substance use among teenagers in the state.” Additionally, the study also revealed that the “prevalence of vape pen and JUUL usage increased 4.1 percentage points for past-30-day use, making vape pens and JUULs the only substance use category where students reported a substantial increase over the last two years.”
What do you think? Should more restrictions be implemented?