juul lawsuit

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local vaping product retailer renewed its criticism of e-cigarette giant Juul a day after the company was sued by Jefferson County Public Schools.

Derb E Cigs President Troy LeBlanc told WDRB News that teenage vaping was not a problem until Juul arrived on the scene.

"E-cigarettes have been around for over a decade, and we didn't have a child or teen use problem until the last three years," he said.

LeBlanc belongs to a coalition of vaping retailers and has been calling out JUUL for at least a year.

"We hold all of our members in the Kentucky Free Association to very stringent guidelines,” he said. “So, zero tolerance for selling to a minor, and we take that very seriously."

The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that e-cigarette use among youth and young adults is a public health concern and that e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has taken actions to more immediately target the illegal sales of e-cigarettes to youth, as well as youth-oriented marketing and appeal of these products.

In September 2018, the agency issued more than 1,300 warning letters and civil money penalty complaints to retailers who illegally sold JUUL and other e-cigarette products to minors.

“There are no redeeming benefits of e-cigarettes for young people,” Dr. Corinne Graffunder, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in a news release. “The use of certain USB-shaped e-cigarettes is especially dangerous among youth because these products contain extremely high levels of nicotine, which can harm the developing adolescent brain.”

JCPS on Tuesday became the latest school district to sue Juul and other e-cigarette makers.

Jefferson County Board of Education Member Chris Brady said the district hopes the lawsuit will allow the district to recoup costs associated with counseling, educating and disciplining students in vaping-related matters. Schools districts in Fayette and Bullitt counties have also sued.

"I'm very proud of our board of education for taking this big step to going after the manufactures of what is really a nicotine delivery device," Brady said.

The suit accuses JUUL of ignoring potential health risks and marketing to young people.

"And it's kind of an insidious device … that is really intent on hooking young users and creating addicts so they'll have consumers into their adulthood,” Brady said.

LeBlanc said he supports efforts to reduce or eliminate teen vaping. Juul is giving e-cigarette retailers a bad name, he said.

"We see it as a growing problem as well, and like I said before, our products are meant for adult vapors," LeBlanc said. "We are very upset with what JUUL has done."

JUUL has stopped selling flavored products in the United States.

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