Volusia County joins class action vaping lawsuit

Volusia County Public Schools will join a class action lawsuit against vaping product maker Juul and tobacco company Altria.

More than 250 school districts in 22 states are alleging the companies engaged in deceptive marketing practices targeted at school-aged minors.

Attorney William Shinoff with France Law Group out of San Diego has been litigating the case for 18 months and will represent the district.

"This is not something that school districts should ever have had to deal with," said Shinoff.

A 2018 Florida Department of Health survey found one in five high school students in Volusia County vape.

Shinoff says the lawsuit contends the companies are negligent and create a public nuisance that harms school districts. Districts are demanding the companies pay damages.

"The amount of staff time that has been spent dealing with vape issues. It is a daily issue," Shinoff added, "and if you look at that, those are taxpayer dollars spent, paying those staff members’ salaries.."

School board members argue the companies must be held accountable. There is no cost to the taxpayers for the county joining the suit — unless it’s successful — then the attorney takes 20%.