INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Public Schools has become the latest Indiana school district to join a lawsuit that accuses e-cigarette giant Juul Labs of marketing its vaping products to young people.
IPS is one of hundreds of U.S. school districts, including 10 others in Indiana, that have signed on to a lawsuit accusing Juul Labs Inc. of targeting teens in marketing its products and thereby harming the schools that educate those young people. IPS has about 31,000 students.
The lawsuit alleges that Juul targeted youth with slick advertising and maximized addiction through efficient nicotine delivery. The complaint accuses the company of hiring young models and advertising using bright, “fun” themes, and marketing kid-friendly flavors that included mango, mint and crème brulee, The Indianapolis Star reported.
Juul stopped selling non-menthol-based flavors in 2019.
The lawsuit is working its way through federal court in California, where Juul is based. It alleges that the percentage of high school seniors who reported using nicotine nearly doubled between 2017 and 2018.
By 2019, more than 5 million middle and high school students reported current use of e-cigarettes, including more than 25% of high schoolers, it alleges.
The 2018 Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey found that more than one-third of Indiana high school students had used a Juul product.