With a return to school buildings as the pandemic subsides comes a return to in-person challenges — such as student vaping.

Paterson has become the latest school district in New Jersey to pursue a lawsuit against e-cigarette mogul, Juul Labs.

The Paterson Board of Education last week approved retaining a law firm in a suit against Juul and other manufacturers of vaping products, on a contingency fee basis, through next school year.

The same law firm was retained by the West Deptford school district several months ago, as reported by Paterson Press, among similar suits involving more than 275 school districts in 21 states.

The Freehold Regional district — made up of six high schools in Monmouth County — separately filed a federal lawsuit in March, as a way of trying to recoup the expenses of trying to curb vaping among teens during school hours.

That suit was against Juul as well as tobacco-maker Altria, which owns more than a third of the vaping company.

In recent years, schools have added preventative measures such as extra security patrols or video cameras, and installing "smart" detectors calibrated for vape devices.

Freehold Regional’s 10,000 students are all teens, in 9th through 12th grade.

A federal study released in December showed that vaping among teens surveyed from late 2019 to early 2020 had leveled off from a year before, after doubling over the four years prior.

From 2017 to 2019, the percentage of teenagers who said they had vaped nicotine in the past year spiked among eighth graders from 7.5% to 16.5%. Similarly, the percentage of 10th graders increased from 16% to 31%, and 12th graders went from 19% to 35% in the same time span.

In 2020, those rates held steady at a respective 17%, 31%, and 34.5%.

NJ's most and least COVID vaccinated towns, by county

New Jersey reported just short of 4 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 statewide, heading into the last week of May. So how does that break down across all 21 counties?

And, how can some communities show a vaccination rate of more than 100%, according to state data? Reasons include people who have moved, those who are traveling and not residing at home where the census counted them, students who may select their school residence for vaccination data and people in long-term care (or other facility-based housing) among other reasons, as explained in a footnote on the state COVID dashboard.

These NJ towns have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases

Looking at data compiled by the Department of Health in 2019, the most recent year for which reports are available, we determined the rate of STDs for 1,000 people in every municipality. The data combines reports of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. For a different look, you can check out this article for a list of New Jersey towns that saw the highest increase in STD/STI cases in recent years. 

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