Seneca Valley mulls joining Juul lawsuit

November 11, 2020 Cranberry Local News


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JACKSON TWP — Seneca Valley is the latest school district in the county expected to join the nationwide lawsuit against Juul, the e-cigarette manufacturer accused of marketing its products to children.

At its work meeting Monday, the Seneca school board discussed the upcoming vote on a resolution to sue Juul Labs Inc. among other e-cigarette manufacturers, for which many directors voiced their support.

“I don't think it's (this resolution) any surprise to this board,” Superintendent Tracy Vitale said. “We have been talking about vaping for several years, and our concern about teenagers vaping and teenagers vaping at school that we've tried to control.”

Vitale said the district had purchased “vape detectors” that they placed in school bathrooms, which is one of the costs Seneca is seeking to recover from the e-cig manufacturers in the lawsuit.

The complaint that would be filed if the board approves the resolution would be similar, if not almost identical, to those filed by other Butler County school districts.

The Butler Area, Karns City Area, Mars Area, Moniteau, Slippery Rock Area and South Butler County school districts have joined the lawsuit, which is based in the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California.

In the complaints, the districts have accused the various e-cigarette makers of marketing to children, an accusation with which Seneca directors and administrators agreed.

“There's no doubt, when you have flavors like cotton candy and Skittles and things like that, you're definitely marketing to children,” Vitale said.

Director Fred Peterson, who represents Cranberry Township on the board, agreed with Vitale's comments, and added that the proposed suit is a long time coming.

“I could not be more supportive of taking this direction. I urge my colleagues on the board to vote 'aye' at the proper time,” Peterson said.

“The insidiousness of this Juul device and others like it is just incredible,” he said.

The board will consider joining the lawsuit at its action meeting next Monday.

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Alex J. Weidenhof

Alex J. Weidenhof