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Munising Public Schools joins lawsuit against electronic cigarette companies

Munising schools are now part of a country-wide lawsuit that includes over 226 other school districts from 23 states. All claiming fraud and intent by vaping manufactures.
Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 3:02 PM EDT
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MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Munising school district has joined a lawsuit against several electronic cigarette companies.

The lawsuit Munising Public Schools is joining seeks money to help schools, “handle the vaping epidemic.” It claims vaping companies, “intentionally marketed their products to children.”

Munising schools are part of a country-wide lawsuit that includes over 226 other school districts from 23 states. All claiming fraud and intent by vaping manufactures.

“We’ve had it here; every school district has,” said Pete Kelto, Munising Public Schools Superintendent. “They were pretty slick, frankly, in their marketing, sleek design, really marketed at teenagers.”

Kelto says the small e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine, are easy for students to hide. He says the district saw a surge in the use of e-cigarettes in 2019.

“We did see a little bit of a decline last year, but it’s still in every school in the United States,” said Kelto.

For the lawsuit, Kelto says Munising schools will not be charged any law fees unless a judgement or settlement is reached. Any money the district gets would be used for prevention and education.

“It can be used to install vape detectors in bathrooms in schools, but we would really be looking more for the education piece,” said Kelto. “To help our kids from getting addicted to nicotine.”

One of the companies named in the lawsuit, Juul Labs, settled with the state of North Carolina for targeting teens last week. The company paid $40 million.

At the time Juul Labs said, “This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers. We seek to continue to earn trust through action.”

Under the settlement with North Carolina, Juul Labs can not advertise to anyone under the age of 21 in the state. For the lawsuit Munising schools have joined, there is no timeline, but Kelto says it could take a couple of years.

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