The American Lung Association in California gave the city of Redwood City some pretty harsh, failing grades for its tobacco marks this week.
The annual report, which was released Wednesday, issues grades for all cities and counties in California on local tobacco control policies including those for smoke-free outdoor environments, smoke-free housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products.
Read comments by Redwood City residents from our Facebook page about their experiences with second-hand smoke at the end of this article.
Belmont remains the highest scoring city in the county thanks to the passage of a comprehensive secondhand smoke protections outdoors and in attached housing. Belmont is only one ordinance away from achieving straight A’s - all it needs is to adopt a strong tobacco retailer license which would provide local control over the sale of tobacco products and thus reduce the illegal sale of tobacco to underage youth.
Overall, the association said the state of California "falls short in adequately funding tobacco prevention programs to protect children and curb tobacco-caused disease."
California earned an A grade for its smoke-free air policies but received a D for its low cigarette tax, an F for failing to adequately fund tobacco prevention and control programs, and another F for poor coverage of smoking cessation and treatment services.
"Cities and counties in California have always led the way with strong tobacco control policies, and that continues to this day," said Fred Lurmann, Chair of the Leadership Board of the American Lung Association in California – Greater Bay Area. "Safeguarding our communities from the negative consequences of tobacco is critical. The low grades represent real health consequences."
The association also criticized the state for not increasing its cigarette tax since 1999, and spending only 15 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to adequately fund tobacco prevention programs and services to help people quit smoking.
There are about 3 million new youth smokers in the U.S. and 34,400 in California each year. About 37,000 deaths are caused by tobacco use annually, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
"We need to do more to fight the influence of tobacco interests in California politics," said American Lung Association in California Chairwoman Marsha Ramos. "Our state-elected officials have an opportunity to change course in 2013 and make big strides in the fight to end tobacco-caused death and disease."
"It’s going to take a great deal of political will, but we are confident our elected officials are up to the challenge," she added. "Our children’s health is depending on them."
San Mateo County State of Tobacco Control 2013 Overall Grade Smokefree Outdoor Air Smokefree Housing Reducing Sales of Tobacco Prodcuts Atherton F F F F Belmont B A A F Burlingame D D D F Foster City
F F D F Half Moon Bay F F F F Hillsborough F F F F Menlo Park
C B C D Millbrae F F F D Pacifica C D F A Redwood City
D D F D San Bruno F F F D San Carlos D F D D San Mateo D D F D South San Francisco F F F D Woodside F F F F
To view the complete California report, visit www.lung.org/california.
Redwood City residents and business owners have been commenting on their experiences with second-hand smoke in town on our Facebook page.
Pablo Sanchez said, "I think [Redwood City] needs to ban cigarette smoking from apartment complexes. All my neighbors smoke cigarettes; [they're] chain smokers. I don't smoke cigarettes but my apartment smells like cigarettes all the time!"
Michelle Velasquez-Analla agreed, saying, "Yes! In front of my business there are cigarette butts on the sidewalk every morning. I am 99% sure they are coming from adults. It's yucky!"
Join the conversation by visiting and becoming a fan of RedwoodCity-Woodside Patch's Facebook page.
Do you think there are additional things Redwood City and Woodside should be doing as far as tobacco policies go? Tell us in the comments below.
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