Fort Mill School District Office. Photo from Stevens & Wilkinson.

The Fort Mill School District has announced it will create an effort in preventing vaping products such as JUUL labs from reaching students in schools.

The decision was announced during the school board’s meeting last November, particularly in part of the increase in vaping among students throughout South Carolina and the United States.

According to the CDC, around 21.6% of South Carolina high school students use tobacco products, in which the majority has been electronic cigarette usage.

Because of the rise of vaping among the youth, administrators throughout the district have placed more of an emphasis on disciplining those who are caught with these products.

Full press release is down below:

The Fort Mill School District joined the legal fight to stop JUUL Labs, the largest manufacturer, distributor and seller of electronic cigarettes, from targeting our youth in what the district believes is a vaping epidemic.

At the board meeting held Tuesday, November 17, the administration with the support of the board announced the district will join dozens of other school districts across the country in litigation against JUUL Labs, Inc.

Legal counsel then filed suit on November 6, 2020, against JUUL in the federal court in California, where a class action against JUUL on behalf of dozens of school districts across the country is pending. No taxpayers’ funds will be used as part of this litigation. Schools across the state and nation have seen a dramatic increase in the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems by children and teens.

Federal data shows that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students more than doubled from 2017 to 2019. More than five million youths reportedly used e-cigarettes and vaping products in 2019.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s state data shows that 21.6% of South Carolina high school youth currently use tobacco products. The most used product among all students is electronic smoking devices and flavored products.

Just this past year, the surge in e-cigarette use by youth nationwide increased from 11.7% to 20.8%, an alarming 78% increase.

The 2019 South Carolina Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that 39.5% of high students in South Carolina had used an e-cigarette, and 22% reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

High school aged students reported using JUUL more than any other e-cigarette.

All these numbers are self-reported, and many public health officials believe they are under-reporting the actual prevalence of youth e-cigarette use.

The rise in the number of students using e-cigarettes on school campuses has required staff to spend increased time addressing discipline issues. School administrators and teachers must address these issues during school hours, which interferes with the delivery of instruction and minimizes teaching time.

Fort Mill School District administrators and board felt it necessary to join this effort as the district continues to address this health risk to our students and work to end the vaping epidemic.

Mitchell Mercer has lived in Fort Mill since 2003 and graduated from Nation Ford High School in 2019. He currently attends Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC and is majoring in English-Communications....

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