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 Grant Money to Fund Tobacco Education in East County

​Money from the California Department of Education will help keep East County students away from tobacco.

The $1.3 million grant will fund anti-tobacco programs for middle- and high-school students in four East County school districts through 2017. The Grossmont Union High, Cajon Valley Union, Lemon Grove, and Santee school districts are participating.

The programs will include prevention curriculum, tobacco intervention and cessation programs, and youth-development programs. As part of the programs, students in those districts will work to help develop anti-tobacco posters and public service announcements.

Teaching students about the dangers of smoking is particularly important now, as smoking rates flatten out after years of declines and the use of e-cigarettes grows, said Jim Crittenden, a project specialist with the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE).

“It’s important to reach kids with clear and consistent messages as often as possible,” he said.

Crittenden wrote the grant for the four districts. SDCOE will continue to help manage the grant, which is part of the state’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education program.

The program provides funding for programs in grades 6 through 12 through a competitive application process for tobacco-specific student instruction, reinforcement activities, special events, and intervention and cessation programs. It‘s paid for with money collected through cigarette tax.