FIGHTING BACK IN VALLEJO
Cheap, Flavored Tobacco Products Are Sold In Vallejo Stores
Visit convenience stores in Vallejo and you will see colorful, flavored tobacco products, such as cigars (some sold for less than $1), electronic cigarettes (aka vapes) and menthol cigarettes. These highly addictive products are designed by the tobacco industry to be attractive, easier to use and more affordable for kids. 38.5% of public schools in Vallejo are within 1,000 feet of a tobacco retailer.
Underage Youth Can Get Them Easily
If you are thinking, “But kids can’t buy these products, right?” think again. In 2020, 40 of Vallejo’s 94 tobacco retailers were visited by an underage youth decoy and 12 of the stores sold to them (30%).
Stock photo. Posed by model.
Vallejo Students Know
Where to Go to Get Tobacco
You can also ask young people themselves. 37% of Vallejo City Unified School District (VCUSD) juniors say that it’s easy to get cigarettes, and over half (52%) say the same about e-cigarettes. Also, most underage youth in the U.S. get tobacco from local stores, not online.
LGBTQ+ Youth In Vallejo Use More Tobacco
LGBTQ+ youth feel more stress because of discrimination, which makes them more likely to use tobacco.
Queer VCUSD freshmen are more than twice as likely to feel hopeless or always be sad — and 8x more likely to smoke — as other freshmen.
20% of queer VCUSD freshmen use e-cigarettes vs. 6% of their straight peers.
© California Department of Public Health
Low-Income Areas of Vallejo Have More Tobacco Stores Targeting Minority Youth
Racial minority youth feel greater stress from social injustice, and Big Tobacco has been targeting them for decades.
This can be clearly seen in lower income and minority areas of Vallejo, which are more crowded with tobacco stores than other parts of the city. All over the country, areas with more black and brown youth have more tobacco stores closer to schools, greater tobacco discounts, and tobacco advertising easily visible to young kids. The more tobacco ads kids see, the more they use tobacco.
Tobacco Retail Licenses (TRLs) put teeth into tobacco laws by making sure retailers will lose their ability to sell tobacco if they sell to kids. TRLs can also stop the sale of e-cigarettes and flavors; raise prices to make them less affordable for teens; reduce the number of tobacco stores in minority areas and more.
Benicia, and 208 other Bay Area and California cities and counties have Tobacco Retail Licenses that have helped to protect youth from tobacco in their communities.