The Howard County Board of Education has joined a lawsuit against JUUL Labs, Inc. for the company’s role in cultivating and fostering an e-cigarette epidemic that disrupts the education and learning environment across the District, interfering with District property and public resources. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for staff time and resources expended in addressing student vaping, as well as for the establishment of an abatement fund to pay for prevention efforts, cessation programs, counseling, health costs, and related recovery costs.

More than 100 school districts nationally have filed class action lawsuits against JUUL. In addition, dozens of state and county governments, including Howard County government, have joined these lawsuits.

“I appreciate the willingness of Board members to support this action as the impacts that vaping and JUULs have on our county’s children have continued to grow,” said Board Chair Mavis Ellis. “I’m proud to join the hundreds of other individuals and legislative bodies in standing up for healthy children, communities and educational environments.”

Vaping is a major concern in the Howard County Public School System. School administrators report that vaping incidents are generally occurring daily at the high school level and weekly at the middle school level. The abundance of cases indicates the significant danger that vaping represents for students in HCPSS schools. Responding to vaping also places a significant burden on school staff, due to the high number of cases and the time commitment required to verify that the student participated in cessation and counseling.

“Our educators know first-hand the detrimental impacts that vaping has on our students and have constantly reached out for assistance in eradicating it from our school communities,” said Superintendent Michael Martirano. “This lawsuit is an important step to take but the greatest change will come when we are able to eliminate the use of these harmful products.”

HCPSS has issued advisories and community messages about the dangers of vaping in partnership with the Health Department.

For additional information about the lawsuit, contact the Board of Education at [email protected].