Petaluma schoos receive grant to combat youth tobacco use

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The Petaluma City Schools District has been awarded $1,043,945 in state grant funding from the California Attorney General’s office to combat the illegal sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to minors.

The grants, $37.5 million in total, were distributed to 71 local entities throughout the state. They will fund operations, retailer training programs, the installation of signage, youth outreach, tobacco retail license inspections, training for sworn personnel, and other activities.

“Tobacco remains a very serious public health concern,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “These grants will provide additional tools to law enforcement to help educate kids about the dangers of smoking. The grants will also help local communities enforce laws against selling tobacco products to minors. These grants are an important step toward reducing illegal sales and building a healthier California.”

Proposition 56 (Prop. 56), the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016, was approved by voters in November 2016. Effective April 2017, it raised the cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase on other tobacco products. Prop. 56 specifically allocates $30 million of revenue to be distributed annually by the California Department of Justice to local law enforcement agencies for the support and hiring of peace officers for various activities, including investigations intended to reduce the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors.

Petaluma and other Prop. 56 grant recipients will use the state dollars to fund different anti-smoking campaigns and projects including new training and educational materials for officers and tobacco sellers to reduce illegal sales of tobacco products to minors, and law enforcement operations targeted at retailers selling to minors.

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