Chico Unified receives over $1.5 million to combat tobacco use among minors

The Chico Unified School District was awarded $1,525,331 in state grant funding to combat the illegal sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to minors.

The grants from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, which totaled $37.5 million, were distributed to 71 local entities throughout the state.

Officials said the money will be used to fund operations, retailer training programs, the installation of signage, youth outreach, tobacco retail license inspections, training for sworn personnel and other activities.

"Student groups across our district have identified the sales of cigarettes and tobacco products to minors as an issue they feel strongly about," said Superintendent Kelly Staley.

"Our students are very aware that smoking and vaping have serious health risks and can also serve as a gateway to the use of even more dangerous drugs," added Staley. "We are thrilled that through this grant, we will be able to work with our community partners, including the Chico Police Department, to provide prevention and intervention services to reduce the underage use of tobacco products in our community."

Proposition 56, the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016, was approved by voters in November 2016.

In April of 2017, it raised the cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack, with an equivalent increase on other tobacco products.

Prop 56 also 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.

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