Pennsylvania School District Prepares to Sue E-Cigarette Companies Over Vape-Related Illnesses Among Quakertown Students

A small Bucks County, Pennsylvania, community joined the fight against vaping last week after two students were found unconscious in school bathrooms and rushed to local hospitals.

The Quakertown Community School District announced that it will file a lawsuit against e-cigarette companies next week, including the popular brand JUUL. The lawsuit cites the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning that smoking in your youth can lead to long term health complications and notes that e-smoking among young people increased 900% from 2011 to 2015.

The school district said it is not asking for any monetary compensation. Officials just want to keep kids safe.

“Vaping is a scourge for today’s young generation,” Quakertown Superintendent Dr. William E. Harner said.

Recently, one Quakertown student “passed out” in the bathroom after vaping with friends in a stall, Harner said. Inside the vape was a form of black-market THC, which has contributed to many of the 1,600 vape-related illnesses reported this year, according to federal officials.

At least 34 people across the country have died.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District in Southern California also announced a lawsuit against JUUL, which accused the e-cigarette manufacturer of "creating an epidemic of youth vaping." Despite ongoing health warnings, current e-cigarette use among high school students increased 78% from 2017 to 2018, according to the Quakertown lawsuit.

One Quakertown student told NBC10 that vaping “is the cool thing to do” and much more common among teens than adults realize.

“People definitely do it in the bathroom,” the high school senior, who asked not to be identified, said.

“I think it’s a great idea, but I really don’t know how a school district can stop anyone selling [E-cigarettes],” Quakertown parent Vanessa Wampole said.

Last week, Juul suspended sales of its popular fruity e-cigarette flavors ahead of a Trump administration policy that is expected to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market, the company announced Thursday.

On Tuesday, a Juul Labs executive who was fired earlier this year alleged that the vaping company knowingly shipped 1 million tainted nicotine pods to customers.

The allegation comes in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by lawyers representing Siddharth Breja, a one-time finance executive at the e-cigarette maker. The suit claims that Breja was terminated after opposing company practices, including shipping the contaminated flavored pods and not listing expiration dates on Juul products.

The lawsuit does not specify the contamination issue or how it occurred. Lawyers for Breja declined to elaborate on the issue Wednesday.

A Juul spokesman said in a statement that the claims are "baseless" and that Breja was terminated because he failed to "demonstrate the leadership qualities" required for the job.

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