SEATTLE — Seattle Public Schools has filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs Inc., according to a news release sent out Thursday evening.
Superintendent Denise Juneau called it an "urgent matter for the health and well-being of our students."
Juul is an electronic cigarette company that manufactures, distributes and sells e-cigarettes, vape pens and vaporizers.
In addition, the school district said it is also filing suit against Altria Group Inc., which is the parent company of Philip Morris and owns a stake in Juul; and Eonsmoke LLC, which markets Juul-compatible products, according to the release.
"There is no doubt that vaping is reaching epidemic proportions among teenagers, and we can't just sit by while our students suffer the effects of being targeted by Juul," Juneau said.
According to the release, the lawsuit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle.
The school district is accusing Juul of advertising and designing products that deliberately target minors. Officials with the district also said the company has contributed to a dramatic increase in youth vaping and youth nicotine addiction.
According to the release, the school district will be represented by lawyers from Keller Rohrback, which specializes in representing public entities in high-impact cases involving public health, consumer protection and the environment.
The lawsuit asks Juul to cease marketing to minors, as well as for damages and funding for district prevention education and addiction treatment.
Meanwhile, on Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a new study on the association between vitamin E acetate and vaping-associated lung injury, according to a Washington State Department of Health release.
In the study, researchers found vitamin E acetate in lung specimens from 29 of 29 patients with vaping-associated lung injuries.
According to the release, the CDC's findings show the substance is present at the primary site of injury within the lungs but said, "no single compound or ingredient has emerged as the definitive cause to date and there may be more than one cause of this outbreak."
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