OCDE nets $500,000 state grant for tobacco prevention efforts

OCDE recently received more than $500,000 in state funding to help keep vaping devices, cigarettes and other tobacco products out of the hands of students.

As part of the California Department of Justice’s Tobacco Grant Program, grants were presented this month to 76 local agencies to support the enforcement of state and local laws prohibiting the sales of tobacco products to minors. The Orange County Department of Education was awarded $504,242 for the 2019-20 fiscal year. 

With youth vaping spiking at alarming rates, OCDE has sought out additional resources to advance its work with Orange County school districts and communities, OCDE Prevention Coordinator Stephan Lambert said.

Backpack bag with pencils and vape stick
The California Department of Justice’s Tobacco Grant Program recently awarded grants to 76 local agencies to help combat tobacco use among minors. The photo above shows how easily some popular vaping devices and refill pods can blend in with school supplies.

“This funding will allow us to support administrators and school-based law enforcement officers with professional development on tobacco-use prevention while pursuing innovative projects to reduce youth access to vaping devices and other tobacco products,” Lambert said. 

“We look forward to collaborating with the California Department of Justice to address youth tobacco use in Orange County,” he said.

The Department of Justice’s Tobacco Grant Program is funded by Proposition 56, which in 2016 raised the cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase on all other tobacco products. 

Proposition 56 allocates millions of dollars annually to the California Department of Justice for distribution to local law enforcement agencies. These additional resources are used to support investigations, compliance checks and education.

“Tobacco is a serious threat to public health, especially to California’s youth,” said California Attorney General Becerra, who announced the grant recipients earlier this month. “These grants will support local communities in enforcing the law and educating kids about the harms of tobacco products.” 

For the 2019-20 fiscal year, approximately $26 million in funding was made available to support enforcement efforts. The Buena Park, Capistrano Unified and Anaheim Union High school districts also received grants this year, as did the Irvine Police Department. 

For more information, including a list of grant recipients, visit oag.ca.gov/tobaccogrants.