SWSD Joins Lawsuit Against Vaping Companies in the ongoing Teen Nicotine Epidemic


These are just a few of the vapes that have been confiscated at Sedro-Woolley High School.- Taken by Hunter Richardson

Hayami Holz

Currently the Sedro-Woolley School District (SWSD) is suing vaping companies due to their target towards teenagers, according to superintendent of SWSD Dr. Miriam Mickelson.
“I think that the biggest issue is that we have Juul, seemingly targeting young people with their products that are harmful and deleterious to students’ health,” said Dr. Mickelson.”Unfortunately not just in our area and in our community, but across the country. We have more and more young people regrettably engaging in vaping.”
According to Dr. Mickelson, SWSD became part of a state lawsuit against the vaping company JUUL to stop targeting teens with vapes.
“The primary reason is to hold JUUL accountable for developing harmful products that the company seems to market towards young people,” said Dr. Mickleson. “If successful then the plan is to use whatever award we get from the lawsuit to assist in prevention, education and resources to help young students.”
Students might question why the school district has the right to sue vaping companies such as JUUL. Dr. Mickelson says, “when it comes to a lawsuit, anyone can say they are going sue someone else and take them to court. As a mass action lawsuit, what is being impacted by vaping is young students and that’s who we serve. And that’s why we decided to participate.”
Registered Nurse Bennett Holz at PeaceHealth United General Medical Center, has dealt with people who have vape, such as teens.
“One reason is that nicotine is harmful to brain development,” Holz said. “Teen brains aren’t fully developed until the mid 20’s. There is some early research showing higher rates of mental disease due to vaping because of how the brain is affected prior to full development. Also, teens who vape have much higher rates of continued addiction later in adulthood.”
Holz says vaping can start with teens and that there is false information getting spread by vaping campaigns.
“Curiosity, familiarity with it because someone they know does it, and the belief that it isn’t as harmful as cigarettes,” Holz said. “Also, advertisers are dishonest and they create campaigns aimed at youth showing it to be cool with great flavors.”
From a student’s perspective of vaping, Sedro-Woolley High School Freshman Fairah Lee says she sees it a lot.
“Anywhere honestly, I’ve seen people do it in classrooms, I smell it in the bathroom, and probably hotboxing their cars before school and after, at lunch, and during passing periods,” Lee said.
Nurse Holz says teens can get help with the vaping addiction, and that it won’t be easy, but it’s a step to get better and away from causing harm to your body.
“It’s an addiction, so it’s not going to be easy to just quit. Seek help, tell a person you trust and ask for help in working through steps to stop. Replace the addiction with something that makes you have a ‘serotonin hit,’ that isn’t damaging. Singing, dancing, drawing, and journaling,” she said.