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Hey Minnesota! We See You! What’s Next?

by | May 7, 2023 | RE@L StudentCorner | 0 comments

Hey everyone! It’s another edition of RE@L’s Roundup of Relevant RE@DS, and it is inspired by the recent Minnesota settlement with JUUL, Inc. in upwards of $100 million for purposely targeting kids with ads that promote nicotine consumption through vaping. At RE@L, we are all over that, and we commend Minnesota’s Attorney General, Keith Ellison, for taking on the Goliath that JUUL pretends to be! You can read more from the Associated Press about the historic Minnesota settlement here:  ‘Minnesota settles lawsuit against e-cigarette maker Juul’ 

Minnesota is not the only state to have made a settlement of such nature. Last summer, more than 30 states combined their efforts to settle a lawsuit with JUUL in an amount exceeding $400 million. CNN Health provides a good review of that settlement here: ‘JUUL to pay $438.5 million in settlement’ 

Recently, six other states combined to reach a settlement with JUUL in a combined amount of nearly $500 million dollars. Read about it here: ‘JUUL to pay $462 million to settle youth vaping claims’ 


But the big question NOW becomes what happens after a settlement? Clearly hundred of millions of dollars are scheduled to pour in to the public coffers of states that have navigated successful litigation with JUUL and other companies. Last week, Education Week included a nice article about settlements and what can subsequently happen to the millions of dollars that state governments receive. Read the Education Week article here: ‘JUUL settlements lead more schools to install vape detectors’

Hmmmm. Vaping detectors. We are a reactionary society aren’t we? We tend to let things go until it looks like it’s out of control, and then we take the biggest hammer we can find and pound it into submission! At RE@L, we’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again: our schools cannot punish their way out of the vaping crisis that companies like JUUL have made. At RE@L, we believe strongly that those companies that have and continue to mislead our young, impressionable students into thinking that vaping is a safe form of using nicotine (or other substances for that matter) should be held to account. And the Minnesota settlement is a necessary and commendable reaction to hold JUUL to account. But a settlement doesn’t mean that vaping will go away and/or that JUUL will stop their incessant campaigns targeting our youth.

At RE@L, we believe that any settlement funds should first be used to invest in PREVENTION education. It’s why we support Minnesota House of Representatives lawmaker, Kaohly Vang Her’s introduction of HF 2422, which would direct settlement funds for prevention purposes. Yes! Read about the lawmaker’s proposed legislation here: Tobacco use prevention account established, and money appropriated You can find a summary of the bill here. 

Representative Her understands that a settlement does not end the battle. Prevention education does. For example, RE@L’s 1Up On Vaping™, is a popular and engaging, web-based graphic arts story that skillfully augments classroom instruction around prevention. Designed with middle schoolers in mind, 1Up On Vaping™ is a great tool to help our educators and their students get out in front of the vaping crisis. If you are familiar with the widely popular legacy educational program, The Oregon Trail™, you are already somewhat familiar with 1Up On Vaping™. Designed by the creative mind behind The Oregon Trail™, Don Rawitsch, 1Up On Vaping™ places the student as the main character of a three chapter graphic arts narrative. During the narrative, the student interacts with class members and teachers (and even aliens from outer space) in an effort to understand and solve a problem which they cannot see but they must address. 1Up On Vaping™ was developed under grant requirements of the National Institutes of Health, and it aligns nicely with state and national standards and local school prevention curricula. Sign up here for your school to enjoy a full year of access to the curriculum!

Some of our graphics are used courtesy of


Randy Nelson


Randy Nelson is a retired educator of 38 years. He served students as a high school speech, theater, and English teacher. He served colleagues as a director of curriculum and instruction; and, most recently he served the La Crosse, WI school district as its superintendent of schools. He has a strong leadership track record promoting choice and innovation via unique community partnerships. He currently serves RE@L, inc as its Director of Education.