Tucson Unified School District will soon start to receive several millions of dollars after settling a class action lawsuit against vaping companies.
TUSD will receive $3.2 million as part of a class action lawsuit with thousands of other school districts across the country after settling with the Altria Group. The Altria Group is the parent company of several tobacco and vape products including Marlboro, Black and Mild cigars, and NJoy.
This comes five months after the school district settled with Juul for just over $10 million. Both settlements are part of the same class action lawsuit.
Our staff spent countless hours developing depositions, data, and other things that really helped prove the effects of that of Juul and Altria and how it affects our school district, said TUSD Governing Board President, Dr. Ravi Shah.
He said vape companies target teenagers.
When our teens start using it, their brain is still developing, the adolescent brain is changing so much day after day, year after year. And it’s so more apt to addiction and the effects of nicotine. And so when companies like Juul are targeting our teens they are doing it on purpose, right, because they know that they can target teens when they’re most apt to be addicted to substances, said Shah.
The school district will start receiving the money by the end of this year and will continue receiving it over the next few years. While the school district will not start receiving the money for several months, Shah said the district is working ahead.
We created a special task force made up of community experts in healthcare and addiction medicine to work with our staff and district leaders on figuring out what are the best evidence-based manners and procedures and relationships we need.
The districts lawyers will receive 25% of the settlement amount. After the deduction the district will be left with about $10.3 million between the two settlements.
I want every penny of this money to be used to help prevent and treat addiction amongst our students, as well as address mental health needs in our students so that we can make sure our students are ready to learn and grow, said Shah.
He said the school district already has programs in place to help students, but the additional money will further help them out.
This will really help increase the amount of services that we can provide as a district both in terms of prevention to help our students who aren’t currently using, preventing them from using substances as well as helping students that are using to help them with treatment, with addiction management, and mental health management.