The district in Southwest Mississippi, which is home to about 1,100 students, is the first in the state to file suit. Attorneys are hoping to have it certified as a class-action suit on behalf of all school districts in the state.
“Defendants’ marketing strategy, advertising, and product design targets minors, especially teenagers, and has dramatically increased the use of e-cigarettes amongst minors, like the student body in Jefferson County School District,” the lawsuit reads. “Defendants’ conduct has caused many students to become addicted to Defendants’ e-cigarette products. Plaintiff, and similarly situated school districts in Mississippi, redirected resources to combat the deceptive marketing scheme of Defendants and to educate the school children of the true dangers of e-cigarettes.”
The lawsuit also names Altria, Philip Morris, and Nu Mark as defendants.
The lawsuit says that the “vaping epidemic” has plagued the school district, leading to new costs, and a redirection of time for faculty, staff, and security. According to the lawsuit, security has to supervise students in the bathroom to ensure they are not vaping.
The school district is seeking an unspecified amount of money to pay for counselors and various education programs, damages, and attorney fees.
While this may be the first lawsuit from a school district in Mississippi, this is a rising trend across the country. School districts in Kansas, Missouri, New York, and Washington are among those filing suit, making a similar claim concerning new costs.
Much like combustible cigarettes, minors are prohibited from purchasing e-cigarettes.