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In addition to the rising concerns about teen JUUL addictions and health problems from vaping, electronic cigarettes may also present a threat to the environment around schools nationwide.
In a report published by The Tampa Bay Times on Sunday, educators warn that communities are facing a growing problem with vaping waste, as discarded packaging and used JUUL pods find their way into yards, playgrounds, and waterways.
Often, according to the report, much of the trash is found on school grounds, where using such products is forbidden. As a result, school districts are having to take action and spend additional resources on coping with the problem, instead of using that money for education.
In Boulder, Colorado, a state which had the highest rate of teen vaping in 2018, officials have posted a guide on proper disposal (PDF) of tanks, cartridges, pods, e-liquid bottles and batteries and devices, all of which should be treated as hazardous waste and taken to the Hazardous Materials Management Facility for disposal.
Much of the problem comes from the stealthy design of JUUL products, which resemble a USB thumb drive, and encourage teens to vape around schools. However, the waste products are not being properly disposed of as teens get rid of the evidence.
The report notes that empty pods and packages end up under bleachers, in school parking lots and even stuck in holes in walls of bathrooms.
JUUL Teen Addiction Concerns
Juul and it’s disposable cartridge system have come to dominate the electronic cigarette market since it was introduced in 2015, now accounting for roughly 70% of all vaping sales. The JUUL pens were designed to look like USB thumb drives, and emit little to no visible vapor, leading to widespread use among teens and prior non-smokers, many of which now suffer lifelong nicotine addictions from JUULing.
Some say the design was intentionally targeted to underage, illegal users, who have to use the device covertly in schools and at home, and the product has been blamed for fueling the teen vaping epidemic in the United States.
FDA data indicates that teen e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels in the United States, and JUUL Labs has been accused of fueling the growing teen nicotine addiction problems in the United States, through the design and marketing of their vape pen.
A recent study indicated that e-cigarette advertising reaches 80% of middle and high school students in the U.S. Another study warns that vaping during adolescence quadruples a teen’s risk of becoming a cigarette tobacco smoker later.
On September 9, the FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL, indicating there was evidence it told school-aged children that its products were safer than cigarettes, which has not been proven.
Later that month the CEO stepped down after it was announced JUUL was the target of a criminal investigation, and the company ceased all advertising in the U.S. This Fall, the company ceased sales of its non-traditional flavored products, except tobacco, menthol and mint.
Dozens of JUUL addiction lawsuits and class action claims have been filed against the company in recent months, each raising allegations that the e-cigarette manufacturer marketed their products toward minors and prior non-smokers, while failing to warn that JUUL pods are more potent and addictive than traditional cigarettes.
As more parents and young adults step forward to pursue claims after becoming addicted to JUUL, it is widely expected that thousands of cases will be presented throughout the federal court system.
In October, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order consolidating all JUUL cases pending throughout the federal court system before Judge William H. Orrick III, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which is where JUUL Labs, Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters are located.