The City of Fremont received $100,843 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 October 1, 2019. With the support of the Attorney General’s office, the City of Fremont is prepared to educate and engage the families and youth of Fremont, to understand the dangers of tobacco and nicotine products and make healthy decisions.
“Tobacco is a serious threat to public health, especially to California’s youth,” said Attorney General Becerra. “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 City of Fremont will use the funding to implement and enforce a Tobacco Retail License (TRL) program, and augment student and parent education and engagement efforts already underway through the partnership between Youth and Family Services and the Fremont Police Department. In addition to supporting enforcement efforts as the new TRL program takes shapes, the City is planning to hire a Tobacco Program Youth Specialist to increase education efforts in the school district, and fund more parent education workshops presented by the sergeant who oversees the school resource officers.
The Department of Justice’s Tobacco Grant Program is funded by Proposition 56 (commonly known as Prop. 56), the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016. Beginning April 2017, Prop. 56 raised the cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase on all other tobacco products. Prop. 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.