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Colorado schools awarded over $17 million to combat youth vaping crisis

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – Over $17 million in settlement money from a nationwide lawsuit against the electronic cigarette maker Juul Labs will be distributed to schools across Colorado, with the focus to combat teen vaping.

A July 9 news release from the Colorado Attorney General's Office announced that $17.4 million in funding will be dispersed to 42 Colorado schools, government entities and nonprofit organizations.

Juul Labs paid nearly $32 million to Colorado as a part of a larger $462 million settlement the company paid to six states and the District of Columbia. The settlement responded to claims that the company marketed its electronic vaping products to young people and misrepresented the health risks behind vaping.

Colorado is expected to spend the bulk of the settlement money on programs focused on the education, prevention and treatment of teen vaping, including mental and behavioral health services.

But efforts don't end there – the Attorney General's Office said the state is also giving smaller grants directly to 12 select school districts, nonprofits and government agencies. The Combatting Youth Vaping in Colorado Grant awarded $6 million to programs to the following programs:

  • Boys & Girls Club in Colorado, Inc., $855,979 – This initiative will prevent youth substance use through evidence-based programs, community engagement, and peer-led activities in 50 clubhouses across the state.
  • Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, $541,158 (pending) – Addressing youth vaping, the program will deliver trauma-informed counseling, nicotine replacement therapy, and community engagement with support from a Youth Advisory Board.
  • Rocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion and Education, $800,000 – Enhancing protective factors against youth substance use, the program will train adults to build strong connections with youth in family, school, and community settings.
  • Servicios de La Raza, $950,000 – Deploying a bilingual cessation program for Latino youth, the organization will also launch a youth-led prevention campaign with educational outreach.
  • University of Colorado/Colorado School of Public Health, UpRISE, $544,018 – Expanding a youth-led social justice movement for tobacco control, this initiative will provide educational programs, build organizational partnerships, and engage a diverse Youth Action Board.

A full list of recipients and their efforts can be found here.

The Colorado Department of Law will also be awarding $11.4 million to local education providers over the next three years under the Vaping Education Prevention Grant.

"By investing in these organizations, we are taking a critical step toward protecting our youth from the dangers of vaping." Attorney General Phil Weiser said in Tuesday's press release. "This funding will empower communities to educate our young people about the risks, implement preventive measures, and provide essential treatment for those affected."

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Sadie Buggle


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