About Rural Tobacco Education Program

In November 1988, California voters approved the California Tobacco Health Protection Act of 1988, also known as Prop 99. This initiative increased the state cigarette tax by 25 cents per pack and added an equivalent amount on other tobacco products.

The Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission Rural Tobacco Education Program (RTEP) has been funded by Prop 99 since 1991. Since 1991 the RTEP has worked to make sure bars and restaurants where complying with the Workplace Labor Law, educates mobile venders on not selling tobacco products to kids, and provides information to migrant farm workers. The state workplace law exempts workers performing outdoor work. During our past funded contract with the California Tobacco Control Program, the RTEP staff facilitated smoke-free worksite policy adoption by four major packing houses in rural Fresno County. These smoke-free work site policies protect workers from secondhand smoke in outdoor packing lines, in outdoor break rooms, and even out in the fields. 

Smoke-Free Swap Meets and Farmer’s Markets

The RTEP in working with swap meets and farmer’s markets in rural Fresno County communities, have seen community norm change occur through tobacco products no longer being sold at swap meets.

Through our educational presentations in conjunction with some county and state agencies, we have:

  • increased knowledge and recognition of the health hazards of youth tobacco use
  • swap meets in rural Fresno County are now 100% compliant with state tobacco control laws.
  • tobacco products are no longer sold at swap meets in Fresno County  

Smoke-Free Multi-Unit and Public Housing Complexes

Fresno EOC RTEP has extensive experience in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit and public housing complexes. RTEP has been working for adoption of smoke-free policies that prohibit smoking in common areas and units, as well as the posting of signage discouraging cigarette butt littering throughout multi-unit complexes.

Fresno EOC RTEP provides:

  • education to residents on the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • resources to assist property management in creating a smoke-free policy for their complex
  • educational presentations within the relaxed atmosphere of a complex to increase community awareness of health risks related to exposure to secondhand smoke
  • apartment managers with information highlighting the risk to their renters and the benefits of establishing smoke-free policies for their properties.

Smoke-free policies have a significant public health impact within rural Fresno County by increasing smoke-free housing and reducing individual exposure to secondhand smoke. 

The Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission Rural Tobacco Education Program continues to work on protecting our community from the dangers of drifting secondhand smoke by:

  • working on the adoption and implementation of policy designating a minimum of 50% of individual units (including balconies and patios) in multi-unit housing complexes as entirely smoke-free units
  • working with swap meets and farmer’s markets in rural Fresno County adopting and implement a smoke-free site policy and eliminating smoking in all indoor and outdoor areas of the swap meet and farmer’s markets
  • licensed child care homes and foster care home adopting a policy to be smoke-free inside at all times