Jan 17, 2024 - News

Seattle schools' settlement with Juul

Illustration of a very large pencil filling out a check.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is expecting its second installment of funds from the $1.75 million settlement of a lawsuit against vape manufacturers for allegedly marketing to teenagers.

Driving the news: The first payment of $761,877 was received in December, and the district told Axios it expects to get the second payment of approximately $150,000 later this month.

  • The balance will be paid in installments over four years, per SPS.

Catch up quick: The district filed a federal lawsuit in 2019 against Juul Labs, Altria and other companies and individuals involved in the manufacture, distribution and marketing of vaping products.

Why it matters: SPS is among school districts, local governments and states across the nation that have filed lawsuits against companies that are accused of marketing to teens in ways that may be harmful.

What they're saying: "The rise in youth vaping led the SPS team to pursue funding for increased education and prevention efforts for students, families, staff, and community," said SPS superintendent Brent Jones in a statement.

The big picture: Some 2.55 million U.S. middle (3.3%) and high school (14.1%) students used e-cigarettes last year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Details: The settlement terms dictate that the funds will be used to address student health, addiction and mental health concerns that may contribute to substance abuse, SPS spokesperson Bev Redmond said.

  • Various programs could be funded to tackle these issues and promote healthy behaviors in alignment with the terms of the settlement, Redmond said.
  • The district said last week it has not yet decided which programs to fund with the settlement money.
  • But in the past, the district mentioned the possibility of using some of the settlement to obtain the "Hip-Hop 2 Prevent Substance Abuse and HIV" curriculum.

What we're watching: There are 5,140 Juul class-action and personal injury lawsuits in the U.S., according to drug and medical device watchdog company Drugwatch.


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