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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
April 10, 2008

Grants Are Available to Combat Teen Smoking

(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs invites local law enforcement agencies and schools to apply for block grants to help enforce the state laws prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to minors.

The application deadline for schools is May 1. The deadline for police departments, sheriffs, constables and district attorneys to apply for grants is May 9.

“Texas minors illegally buy or smoke 67.6 million packs of cigarettes each year,” Combs said. “These grants help our communities enforce the law and educate violators about the risks of teen smoking.”

Tobacco compliance grants for local law enforcement agencies must be used for the following compliance activities:

  • sting operations using minors as decoys to catch grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations and other outlets selling tobacco products to underage customers;
  • inspecting stores for required signs, proper certification, and direct access by minors to tobacco;
  • compliance education of retailers, judicial and court personnel; and
  • providing monthly compliance activity reports and quarterly financial reports to the Comptroller.

Tobacco compliance grants for schools are available only to schools with on-campus law enforcement. The grants must be used for the following enforcement and compliance activities:

  • prohibiting anyone under 18 from possessing, smoking or using tobacco products on school property or at school sanctioned events;
  • educating school age children about tobacco laws; and
  • providing monthly compliance activity reports and quarterly financial reports to the Comptroller.

Grants range from $1,000 to $40,000, depending on the number of tobacco retailers within a jurisdiction or the number of students who will be educated. The grant period is Sept. 1, 2008, to Aug. 31, 2009. Application forms can be printed from the Comptroller’s Web site at www.window.state.tx.us or can be obtained by calling (888) STEP-123.

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Find details on all the services of the Comptroller’s office at www.window.state.tx.us, including a transparent look at state spending at www.window.state.tx.us/wherethemoneygoes.

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