The San Diego County Office of Education was awarded a $1.3 million, four-year state grant to pay for programs to prevent the use of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.

The grant was one of 14 distributed around the state, totaling $16.6 million.

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“The safety and well-being of our students are at the heart of what we do as educators,” said Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction. “Leaders across California have made great strides in the fight against smoking, but the rise of e-cigarettes and other developments means that our work is far from over.”

Smoking among middle and high school students dropped between 1996 and 2008, but new nicotine products, like e-cigarettes, also known as vapor inhalers, have increased in popularity in the last few years, according to the state Department of Education.

Torlakson sent a letter to schools last month that encouraged administrators to update their tobacco policies to include the prohibition of e- cigarettes and other nicotine delivery systems.

– City News Service

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