In a landmark victory against vaping giant Juul, the Berkshire Hills Regional School District is set to receive a portion of a massive $1.2 billion to $1.7 billion settlement. This settlement comes after thousands of plaintiffs, including the Berkshire Hills District, filed lawsuits against Juul over the harmful effects of vaping on schools and students.
Although the exact amount of the settlement is still undisclosed, the District Superintendent Peter Dillon has confirmed that school officials will vote on whether to accept the settlement in a closed-door session. This settlement marks a significant victory in the battle against Juul’s marketing schemes that targeted young people and falsely advertised the safety of vaping.
According to court documents, Juul’s marketing tactics followed a similar pattern to that of the tobacco industry, with an emphasis on maximizing addiction, mass deception, and targeting youth. The company sought to “make nicotine cool again, without any of the stigma associated with cigarettes.” This resulted in an increase in addiction among young people and put schools like Monument Mountain Regional High School in a tough spot.
The lawsuit claims that the district has been “hit hard” by vaping, with discipline and suspensions rising at alarming rates. The situation has forced the district to take several measures, including installing surveillance cameras, closing some bathrooms, and increasing the number of school resource officers. These measures, along with the additional time and attention required to manage addicted students, have diverted staff resources away from classroom instruction.
While the exact amount of the settlement remains unknown, this victory will undoubtedly send a message to the vaping industry that targeting young people will not be tolerated. The district hopes that the settlement will enable them to provide anti-vaping education and resources to students and reduce the harmful effects of vaping on schools and students. With fresh data on vaping among high school students set to be released soon, the district is hopeful that the settlement will lead to positive changes in the fight against vaping.