By Adam Pack
The Greenbrier County Commission met Tuesday, Nov. 23, to discuss, among other matters, the possibility of joining a class action lawsuit against popular e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL. West Virginia Attorney Charles Webb appeared before the Commission to brief them on the class action lawsuit being filed against the company by himself and his firm.
Webb, who represents 45 counties and cities in West Virginia in the ongoing opioid class action lawsuit, explained that the JUUL lawsuit “takes the exact same theory, which is public nuisance [laws infringement], and applies it to the vaping that is prevalent in West Virginia, primarily among teenagers and young adults.”
Webb said he would “love it if the Greenbrier County Board of Education would join in tandem with the County Commissions in this suit.”
Webb cited concerning statistics in regard to vaping. “1 in 3 WV high school students use e-cigarettes, that’s a 150% increase between 2017 and 2019. In 2019, over 60% of high school students had tried e-cigarettes, up from 44% in 2017. Since 2017 high school students who report frequent use (20 days a month or more) has increased by 440%.”
The County Commission had two resolutions on the table in relation to this issue, a resolution to declare that JUUL had caused a public nuisance to the people of Greenbrier County, and an agreement for legal services for e-cigarette litigation.
The Commission voted “aye” unanimously on both items.
“Vaping has quickly become the habit of young people that has so many negative effects. Greenbrier County’s participation in this lawsuit is a small step in trying to curb this problem by focusing on our youth,” said Commissioner Tammy Shifflett-Tincher
Furthermore, the Commission discussed the selection of an architect for a Trade Show and Expo Center to be located at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Fairlea.
In recent years, vendors have come to use space at the fairgrounds for expos and showcase events. One thing the vendors have expressed an interest in would be some indoor space for marketing purposes. When showing RVs, an example mentioned more than once by Commissioner Rose, there are a number of adjacent industries who would benefit from the ability to show their products nearby. These expos have already been a success, with Commissioner Rose pointing out that “some of those RVs can run upwards of one million dollars apiece. This would be very good for the economic development of the county if we could expand that sort of business opportunity to a dedicated trade show/expo space.
The space will be built with a grant and the county will incur no cost. At this meeting, the Commission selected E.T. Boggess Associates as the construction partner, with further details to be discussed next month.