California leads the nation in its tobacco control policies, but in a community-by-community breakdown, Los Angeles and Long Beach only get Cs, the American Lung Association said Wednesday in its State of Tobacco Control 2018 report.
California’s grades improved to become the best in the nation thanks to strong policies across the state and the enactment of the new tobacco tax increase approved by voters, the association said in a statement.
“This year, California began reaping the financial and health benefits of an increased tobacco tax,” said Mark Johnson, Board Chair for the American Lung Association in California.
The hundreds of millions in increased tobacco taxes from Proposition 56 now flowing to critical state health and prevention programs lead to a big grade increase for California, the report stated.
The state received an A grade for funding for state tobacco prevention programs, up from an F in 2016. California’s grade for smoking cessation services also improved from an F to a C.
California’s 2018 Grades also included:
– Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs — A up from an F in 2016.
– Smokefree Air Policies — A.
– Level of Tobacco Taxes — B.
– Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – B.
– Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – C up from an F in 2017.
In conjunction with the national report, the American Lung Association in California released its companion State of Tobacco Control 2018, which issues grades for all 482 cities and 58 counties in California on local tobacco control policies. According to that report, a record number of 10 communities improved their overall grade to an A, and California now has a total of 31 communities with an overall A grade. Additionally, 17 fewer communities received an overall F grade compared to last year.
Cities like Laguna Beach in Orange County and Bell Gardens and Bell in Los Angeles County passed smokefree policies that will improve public health, the report found.
But despite all these successes, half of California’s population still live in communities scoring a D or F. This includes nearly half of the 10 most populous cities in the state, including Anaheim.
“Los Angeles and Long Beach remain in the middle of the pack with C grades,” the report said.
“Smoking rates continue to decline in California, yet tobacco use remains the state’ leading cause of preventable death and disease, killing nearly 40,000 Californians each year,” said Vanessa Marvin, a vice president at the American Lung Association in California.
–City News Service