Eagle County to join lawsuit against JUUL, other e-cigarette manufacturers
Eagle County is joining a lawsuit in federal district court aimed at combating the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes to youth, as well as the public health issue of youth addiction to nicotine.
The multi-district litigation is against manufacturers of e-cigarettes and related items, including JUUL Labs, for developing products that specifically appeal to children.
The Eagle County Board of Commissioners learned about the lawsuit, which is being spearheaded by Boulder County, on Monday morning. They then had to opt-in or opt-out of the litigation by end of day on Dec. 16.
“When we heard about this we thought ‘Yes. This impacts us and we want to be part of it,” said Jeanne McQueeney, chair of the Eagle County Board of Commissioners.
“We intend to hold e-cigarette manufacturers responsible for the harm they have inflicted on our communities, our schools and our children. Too many kids believe that vaping is safe and cool due to the intentional and frankly, despicable youth-centered marketing tactics used by JUUL and others.”
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McQueeney said combatting the prevalence of youth vaping has been a focus of the county’s public health team as well as a number of local teen leaders.
“Anything we can do, we were happy to support them,” McQueeney said. “This is one more way to call attention to the vaping epidemic. We will continue to educate our residents, young and old, about the real risks and harms of vaping; and help facilitate treatment for those who have become addicted to nicotine,” McQueeney said.
Currently, there are more than 200 lawsuits filed against JUUL Labs and related entities, many of which have been aggregated into a single proceeding in San Francisco. Eagle County will work with the law firm of Keller Rohrback LLP, which is representing multiple government entities in the JUUL Labs multi-district litigation, including Boulder County. As the litigation proceeds, Eagle County may be asked to provide hard data about the impact of vaping in the community, but McQueeney said the county will not be leading the lawsuit charge.
“We do not need to commit any resource to this litigation,” McQueeney said. “Boulder County, for Colorado, is really heading this up.”