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Falmouth Public Schools receiving money from vaping settlement

Teens' use of vape devices is increasing, and they're not always aware if nicotine is in the mix.
S Junker / CAI
Teens' use of vape devices is increasing, and they're not always aware if nicotine is in the mix.

Falmouth Public Schools is one of hundreds of districts across the country that will see funds from a roughly $440 million vaping settlement.

The district will be receiving around $12,000 dollars from a settlement with JUUL Labs.

The lawsuit claimed JUUL aimed their products at young people.

The district’s Director of Policy and Legal Affairs Mary Gans said schools who accept the funds cannot sue JUUL again.

Gans said Falmouth should still move forward given the company’s finances.

“My understanding is JUUL’s financial situation is a little precarious, so, a bird in the hand,” she said.

Gans noted litigation is still ongoing with Altria, another defendant in the suit and JUUL’s parent investor company.

The FDA banned the sale of JUUL products in the country last year.

Meanwhile, Barnstable County is developing a response to rising instances of teens vaping on school grounds.

The county said preliminary evidence shows vaping among young people has gone up the last few years.

Substance Use Prevention Program Manager Kate Lena said the county could support schools with updating their policies surrounding vaping.

Lena said that students should have access to resources to help them quit.

“We want to make sure someone is trying to get down to that why," Lena said. "Why are you vaping? Is it anxiety? Is it stress? Is it something going on at home or school that can be addressed? Rather than just jumping straight to that punishment.”

Lena added that scare tactics don’t work. “Kids are still kids. Their brains are still developing. They don’t need us to just tell them ‘stop’. We want our conversations to be supportive.”

The state has set up a text-line kids can use to help them stop vaping.

Brian Engles is an author, a Cape Cod local, and a producer for Morning Edition.