In an effort to stop and deter youth vaping, four Middle Tennessee school districts have joined a nationwide lawsuit against tobacco giant Altria and e-cigarette maker Juul Labs.

The Clarksville-Montgomery, Humphreys, Putnam and Warren County school systems now stand with nearly 1,000 additional school districts across 32 states in the lawsuit.

The law firm representing these schools spoke to news 2’s Alex Denis likening this legal battle to the one waged against big tobacco.

“It sends a very strong message of these school systems across the state– standing united on this issue,” said William Shinoff.

Shinoff with Frantz Law Group represents all Tennessee school districts involved and explained the issue is the alleged dishonest intentional marketing to youth.

“These companies were well aware that children were getting a hold of the product,” said Shinoff. “They knew that also the way that they marketed the product was misleading and has now resulted in this new youth vaping epidemic. That’s what the facts are going to show in this case.”

The first case in this litigation is scheduled to start in June.

It is a personal injury case involving a Tennessee minor.

While Shinoff does not represent that client, he is hopeful this lawsuit will have the same result as the one filed by the Justice Department in 1999, which lead to a landmark judgment issued by the federal courts that forced Altria, along with other powerhouse brands, to tell the truth about their deadly products.

“At the end of the day, what we’re hoping is that these companies go and take accountability for what they’ve done, and what we’re trying to do is make sure that they pay to go and remedy the harm that they’ve created in our communities across the country instead of relying on taxpayer dollars,” he said.

The case involving Tennessee school districts is scheduled in court this fall.

We have reached out to Altria and Juul and have not gotten a response at this time.

Help your teen quit by contacting the Tennessee Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or text “quit” to (615) 795-0600 or visit this link right now.