CCOE receives Prop 56 funding to combat illegal tobacco use among minors

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The Colusa County Office of Education announced that they received $427,589 in state funding to tackle the illegal sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to minors as part of the California Department of Justice’s Tobacco Grant Program.

The grants were awarded to 76 local entities throughout the state to support the enforcement of state and local laws related to the illegal sales and marketing of tobacco products to minors. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the recipients on Oct. 1.

The DOJ Tobacco Grant Program will help increase resources, provides greater capacity and increase technical expertise to all of the school districts in Colusa County, CCOE officials said.

CCOE will be working collaboratively with multiple county and city agencies, including the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office, the Williams Police Department, Colusa County Public Health, and each school district.

The overall goal of the program will be to offer the monitoring, enforcement, education, and outreach that will reduce and possibly eliminate the use of tobacco (nicotine) products and exposure to secondhand smoke/aerosol.

“Tobacco is a serious threat to public health, especially to California’s youth,” said Attorney General Becerra, in a statement. “These grants will support local communities in enforcing the law and educating kids about the harms of tobacco products. My office is dedicated to ensuring the state has the resources necessary to curb the dangers of tobacco and protect the public’s well-being. Preventing or reducing illegal sales of tobacco to minors will pave the way to a healthier California—we’re committed to tackling this public health crisis head on.”

The Colusa County Office of Education will use the funding to provide services to students, family, and community members to educate, identify, and eliminate tobacco expose in youth. CCOE will further use the grant to fund enforcement operations and projects, including an increase uniformed presence at each school site to help increase student attendance, among other objectives, enforcing tobacco and vape free school-related sporting and social events, and providing education for minors and their families.

The Department of Justice’s Tobacco Grant Program is funded by Proposition 56, the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016.

Beginning in April of 2017, Prop. 56 raised the cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase on all other tobacco products.

Proposition 56 also allocates millions of dollars annually to the California Department of Justice for distribution to local law enforcement agencies for the support and hiring of peace officers for various activities. These activities include investigations and compliance checks to reduce the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors.

For more information about Colusa County Office of Education, please visit www.ccoe.net or contact Superintendent West at questions@ccoe.net. ■