PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

11/4/2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 110420-2
Subject:
City Announces New Long Beach Youth Tobacco Diversion Program
Online Registration Open for Young People Ages 14 to 18
Contact:
Lara Turnbull
Acting Community Health Bureau Manager
Department of Health and Human Services
562.570.4294
Lara.Turnbull@longbeach.gov




Long Beach, CA - The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) has launched a new Youth Tobacco Diversion Program to educate young people about the dangers associated with vaping and smoking and provide the resources to help them quit. 

The Youth Tobacco Diversion Program is one of many strategies developed by the Health Department to increase resources for youth and raise awareness of the health, legal and environmental harms associated with smoking and vaping. Funded by a grant received from the United States Department of Justice, the free program was designed to serve as an alternative to suspension for youth caught using tobacco products on school property and/or who violate state and local smoke-free laws. 

Last month, the Health Department hosted its first virtual tobacco diversion class as one in a series of educational courses that will be held monthly throughout the school year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the series is being made available virtually to any youth aged 14 to 18 who smokes and/or vapes. People may register their child or student via this online form

“Youth vaping has increased at alarming rates and research shows that those who vape are up to seven times more likely to become infected with COVID-19,” said Health Department Director Kelly Colopy. “Nicotine can be found in most vape devices and can alter the development of the teenage brain, leading to addiction and other health problems later in life.”

While not a cessation program, steps toward quitting are strongly encouraged through education, discussions and activities that motivate youth to move toward the preparation and action stages of quitting tobacco. Participants may decide to quit or reduce their tobacco or nicotine use as a result of their learnings.

The Long Beach Youth Tobacco Diversion program is part of the Health Department’s larger response to the youth vaping epidemic. The City’s Tobacco Education and Prevention Program also offers a free, eight-week youth summer leadership program with presentations to student and parent groups on smoking and vaping. These services will be offered virtually until in-person instruction is deemed safe. 

For additional information about these programs, visit longbeach.gov/health.

About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 480,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly rated school district, Long Beach Airport and the Port of Long Beach. The City also has a highly respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 171 parks, miles of beaches, marinas and bike paths.

For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit http://longbeach.gov/. Follow us on social to keep up with the latest news: FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, which allows for better engagement with residents, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and fosters a greater understanding of the City's strengths. For more information, visit us at www.longbeach.gov/health, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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