FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2019
Britt Ehrhardt, Public Health Communications Officer
Santa Clara County Public Health Department
Office: (408) 792-5155
Aims to help cities implement tobacco prevention policies that protect public health
County of Santa Clara, CA – The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department announces a total of $310,000 in grants and in-kind support through June 30, 2021 to the cities of Cupertino, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale for tobacco prevention. This funding will prevent and reduce tobacco use, and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.
In Santa Clara County, 1 in 8 deaths annually is attributed to smoking-related illness or diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases. More than 1 in 4 adults living in multi-unit housing in the county report smelling tobacco smoke drifting into their home from nearby apartments or from outside. Exposure is even higher for Latino adults and low-income residents, at 1 in 3 adults.
“Tobacco continues to have devastating impacts on the health of our residents,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. “The County has led the way on implementing some of the strongest tobacco control measures in the nation. In partnership with all cities, we must double down on efforts to address the tobacco industry marketing of flavored products, including menthol cigarettes and vaping products that are impacting our youth.”
“We saw the benefits of this partnership firsthand in South County with the CDC Community Transformation Grant where both Morgan Hill and Gilroy successfully implemented tobacco prevention policies that reduced youth access to tobacco products,” said County Supervisor Mike Wasserman. “These grants will help expand these healthy policies.”
“I commend our cities for stepping up to do their part to fight for healthier communities through proactive tobacco-prevention work,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “Our youth are some of our community’s most vulnerable members, and it is our duty as civic servants to ensure we do our part so they have the best chance for success.”
The funding aims to:
- Decrease secondhand smoke exposure in living spaces with a shared wall, such as condominiums, townhomes and apartments.
- Restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.
- Decrease the availability of tobacco products within cities, including prohibiting new businesses from selling tobacco near youth-populated areas, such as schools, parks, and community centers.
All cities that submitted proposals received awards at the level requested.
“Smoking leads to death and disease and harms nearly every organ in the body. And there’s no risk free level of exposure to second-hand smoke, either,” said Dr. Sara Cody, County Health Officer and Director of the Public Health Department. “These funds support cities in doing the essential work of protecting residents from the harms of tobacco products, both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.”
Funding also comes in the form of in-kind support from a professional consultant for research and reports, stakeholder outreach, placement of signage, and materials to educate the public.
Funding to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing:
- Milpitas will receive $25,000, with anticipated reach of 13,678 residents.
- Morgan Hill will receive $25,000, with anticipated reach of 7,056 residents.
- San Jose will receive $70,000, with anticipated reach of 256,488 residents.
- Santa Clara will receive $34,000, with anticipated reach of 52,790 residents.
Cities of Cupertino, Morgan Hill and Sunnyvale will receive funding to implement strategies to prevent youth access and exposure to flavored tobacco products. Additionally, Cupertino and Morgan Hill will also reduce the availability of tobacco products:
- Cupertino will receive $56,000, with anticipated reach of 17,677 youth under 21 years old.
- Morgan Hill will receive $25,000, with anticipated reach of 12,412 youth under 21 years old.
- Sunnyvale will receive $75,000, with anticipated reach of 36,795 youth under 21 years old.
Total funding includes estimate of in-kind support for each city.
Tobacco use is still the number one preventable cause of death and disease in California, killing nearly 40,000 Californians every year. Tobacco use carries a hefty price tag, both in the annual cost of $689 million in Santa Clara County, and impacts on families due to preventable diseases. More than 1 in 10 youth in the county currently use tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices.
“We are seeing an increase of vaping among youth, and this is alarming because these products contain nicotine which we know is addictive,” said County of Santa Clara Tobacco-Free Communities Program Manager Nicole Coxe. “We know that flavors in vaping products and other tobacco products are attractive to teens and make them seem less risky. This funding helps cities address these growing concerns.”
Over the past eight years, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department has provided over $1.2 million in funding to cities to support implementation of tobacco prevention strategies known to have the greatest impact on reducing tobacco-related disparities and inequities. Partnerships with cities have already resulted in over 65 tobacco prevention policies in 13 cities in Santa Clara County.
All cities in the county were invited to apply for funding. The funding is available through Proposition 56, the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Act of 2016, which increased the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products by two dollars. Santa Clara County voters strongly approved the proposition in November 2016, with over 73 percent voting yes to increase the tax.