About us

The Kern County Tobacco Education Program’s is dedicated to improving the health of residents by reducing the use of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, and reducing the exposure to secondhand and third-hand smoke through encouraging the implementation of measures that will support this. We aim to promote tobacco-free living through education, outreach, access to cessation services, and the promotion of tobacco-free practices.

For more statistics and information about Kern County tobacco rates visit http://healthystoreshealthycommunity.com


Program Goals:

  • Smoke Free-Health Care: Work with and assist in the adoption and implementation of smoke free campus policies for health care facilities including but not limited to alcohol and drug treatment centers, behavioral health facilities, and senior treatment or residential care settings.
  • Tobacco Retailer Locations: Assist with efforts within jurisdictions to adopt a policy that will define a buffer zone of new tobacco retailers from opening within one thousand (1000) feet from schools, parks, and youth facilities.
  • About Tobacco
  • E-cigarettes
  • Secondhand Smoke
  • Tobacco Free Coalition of Kern County
  • Need Help Quiting?

About Tobacco:

  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in California and across the U.S. 1
  • Nicotine is the addicting chemical found in tobacco products. Once you start, it is hard to stop.
  • Why is Nicotine harmful?
    • Smoking can cause serious illness including cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
    • Tobacco comes in a variety of products:


Electronic Cigarettes





Chewing Tobacco

Dissolvable Tobacco



  • What are Electronic Smoking Devices?
    • Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or e-cigs) are battery operated devices people use to inhale a liquid.
    • E-cigarettes produce an aerosol when heated which contain varying amounts of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.
    • In 2016, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among middle school and high school students.
    • E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes and are known by different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and/or “JUULing.”

For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/about-e-cigarettes.html

Secondhand & Third-hand Smoke:

Secondhand Smoke

  • Secondhand smoke is a mixture of 2 forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco.
    1. From the burning end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe
    2. Smoke exhaled by a smoker or someone vaping
  • Tobacco smoke has more than 7,000 chemicals and over 70 of them are known to cause cancer.
  • Some chemicals found in tobacco smoke:
    • Formaldehyde: Used in embalming fluid
    • Ammonia: Used in household cleaners
    • Benzene: Found in rubber cement
    • Vinyl Chloride: Used to make pipe and tennis shoes
    • Arsenic: Used in rat poison
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to serious health problems including lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke and can make asthma worse in adults and children.

Third-hand Smoke

Tobacco Free Coalition of Kern County:

  • The Tobacco Free Coalition of Kern County is a partnership between Kern County agencies, organizations, and community members dedicated to the development and implementation of effective tobacco control efforts in Kern County. Focus areas include promoting public education and supporting public policies that will eliminate or reduce the use of tobacco products. The coalition aims to maintain diversity through the inclusion of members of various cities and communities of Kern County so that their interests and needs are well represented.
  • The Tobacco-Free Coalition of Kern County has been successful in assisting and motivating the communities of Kern County to pass several tobacco control ordinances that protect youth and families. Some of the major policies include:
    • Tobacco Retail License in most areas throughout the county
    • Smoke-free outdoor parks/areas in Arvin, Tehachapi, and South East Kern Parks
  • Statewide changes in laws that effect Kern County include:
    • Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years old
    • The inclusion of electronic cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products
  • The Tobacco Free Coalition of Kern County meets the 3rd Wednesday bi-monthly from 11:45am to 1:15pm. Find out more about what the coalition is doing by following us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeKernCounty.
  • If you are a concerned community member who would like to join the coalition and take action in your community, contact Karina Funez at 661-321-3000 or send an email to funezk@kerncounty.com.
  • Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) is a youth-led coalition working to educate their peers and the community on the dangers of tobacco use, exposure to secondhand and third-hand smoke, and the tobacco industry’s influence on the youth population.
  • The mission of SWAT is to educate the community on various public health issues that both teens and adults face as well as provide a helping hand to those in need. Our members are students who, given this opportunity, have chosen to take initiative and become advocates for others just like them by using their voice and status as leaders, to make a change.
  • Recruitment for SWAT is primarily conducted through middle and high schools and its members range from 8th grade to 12th grade students. Activities and meetings take place after school hours and at off-campus and community settings.
  • If you are a student and would like to take action in tobacco control within your community, contact Tiffany Winter at 661-321-3000 or send an email to wintert@kerncounty.com.

Help Me Quit!:

  • Our program does not provide direct cessation services. However, we can refer you to several available community programs:
    • California Smokers Helpline (Free Telephone Counseling Services)
      • English: 1-800-622-8887
      • Spanish: 1-800-456-6386
      • Chinese: 1-800-400-0866
      • Korean: 1-800-556-5564
      • Hearing Impaired: 1-800-933-4TDD
      • Chewer’s Helpline: 1-800-844-2439
    • National Helpline: www.smokefree.gov
      • English: 1-800-QUIT-NOW
      • Spanish: 1-855-DEJELO-YA
      • Chinese: 1-800-838-8917
      • Korean: 1-800-556-5564
      • Vietnamese: 1-800-778-8440
  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Smoking & Tobacco Use: Fast Facts and Fact Sheets”: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/index.htm?s_cid=osh-stu-home-spotlight-001

California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program, “California Tobacco Facts and Figures: A Retrospective Look at 2017”: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DCDIC/CTCB/CDPH%20Document%20Library/ResearchandEvaluation/FactsandFigures/CATobaccoFactsFigures2017_Accessible.pdf