BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – The Berkeley Police Department was awarded a grant of $191,053 from the state justice department to crack down on tobacco sales to people who are under 21, according to a press release.
“The department plans to use this funding to educate youth and businesses about the negative health effects of tobacco use, and enforce under-age tobacco laws against businesses in an effort to reduce and/or prevent underage tobacco related purchases within the City of Berkeley,” the press release states.
The grant will be used between this year and 2025. The department stated it has four objectives:
- “General enforcement operations at tobacco retailers”
- “Identifying problematic retailers who are out of compliance”
- “Minor decoy operations”
- “Inspections of licensed premises”
Cigarette sales rose in 2020 by 1%, according to U.S. government data. Cigarette smoking rates in California are among the lowest in the nation, and prices are among the highest.
12.5% of U.S. adults smoke, and 7.4% of those aged 18-24 smoke.
It has been illegal to sell cigarettes to people under 21 nationwide since 2019, due to legislation signed by former President Donald Trump.