Prevent Youth Access and Exposure to Tobacco

In Santa Clara County, 1 in 10 youth use tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Nearly 90 percent of adult smokers reported that they tried their first cigarette before the age of 18 and 80 percent who started vaping began with a flavored product. In Santa Clara County, 12 is the most common age that youth have tried their first cigarette. Nearly 40 percent of Santa Clara County students who report smoking cigarettes, and 65 percent who use e-cigarettes reported that they purchased them from a store. Of those who purchased them directly from a store, less than a quarter (23 percent) were asked to show proof of age.

Local Tobacco Retail Licensing

Tobacco-Free Communities staff work to support county and city staff in implementing policies, such as a tobacco retail license, to protect youth from access and exposure to tobacco products communities can use their local tobacco license to further protect youth from access and exposure to tobacco by limiting the sale of flavored tobacco products, restricting tobacco sales near schools and in areas with high numbers of tobacco retailers, and including restrictions on the sale of electronic smoking devices/vape products. The program provides presentations on youth access and youth tobacco use data, policy options, technical assistance and resources such as list of tobacco retailers and educational material. Contact the Tobacco-Free Communities Program at 408-793-2700 for more information.

To learn more about flavored tobacco and vaping, visit

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