PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The district attorneys for Bucks and Montgomery Counties announced a lawsuit against some companies that sell e-cigarette devices because they believe they are marketing to children. Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub says they can no longer avoid addressing the vaping epidemic in the region and they’re hoping this litigation will bring awareness to what they consider an epidemic in their schools.
“Through deceptive marketing that targets our children and with its network of retailers, JUUL has created a public health crisis,” Weintraub said. “Together we are sending an unfiltered message to JUUL and to all retailers who knowing traffic e-cigarettes to minors: your false, deceptive and harmful business practices will not be tolerated in Bucks County.”
Several school districts have joined with the Bucks and Montgomery County district attorneys in a jointly-filed civil suit against JUUL Labs and other e-cigarette manufacturers.
It alleges that the companies manufactured e-cigarette devices and accessories that were marketed to be attractive to minors, turning their children into a generation suffering with addiction.
School officials say students that would have never thought of smoking are vaping and there’s been an increase in the number of 911 calls after some students suffered chest pains, dizziness, anxiety and lung failure.
“40% of our seniors are vaping and that is a very large amount of children. Some students have reported to me that they’re vaping 60 times a day and these children don’t know how much nicotine they’re taking in,” Central Bucks High School nurse Carol Klein said.
Health officials say vaping can cause lung injuries and death. For teen users, there are concerns about brain damage.
“We have found kids unconscious. We’ve had kids with skyrocketed heartrates and blood pressure and we have had several kids have seizures,” Klein said.
The goal of the lawsuit is to have resources to fix the problem that the county is now facing.
They’re also going after local retailers if they sell these products to their children.
JUUL didn’t respond to CBS3’s request for comment, but it’s previously said that the cases were without merit and would be fought in court.
The FDA has ruled that vaping companies have to stop making and selling fruit and mint-flavored e-cigarettes.
CBS3’s Alecia Reid and Stephanie Stahl contributed to this report.