Menlo Park is not protecting its citizens from the dangers of according to a study released by the California chapter of the American Lung Association.
The 2012 State of Tobacco Control study reviewed county and city codes for prevalence of outdoor smoke-free areas, smoke-free apartment complexes and a reduction in tobacco sales. The grades are based on local tobacco control laws and regulations.
The state study was conducted in conjunction with a federal study on states’ efforts to prevent tobacco usage. California received an F for inadequately funding its tobacco prevention and control programs and a D for its low cigarette tax. At 87 cents, California has the 33rd lowest per pack tax, while the national average is $1.46.
The American Lung Association, which funded the study, is supporting the California Cancer Research Act, a June 2012 ballot measure that would increase taxes on cigarette packs by $1 to fund cancer research. The association would receive a portion of the $468 million slated for cancer research, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.
“Both the state and local grades demonstrate the need for California to pass the California Cancer Research Act on the June 2012 ballot,” said Serena Chen, regional director of the American Lung Association.
Menlo Park is not an alone in receiving poor scores, as the study failed about 66 percent of California cities. Only 12 municipalities in California received an A grade, including Albany, Richmond and Union City.
“California was the first state with a comprehensive law to protect people from secondhand smoke where they work, but many California residents are not protected from secondhand smoke where they spend even more time – their home,” said Munta Davis Alameda County health officer.
“Local ordinances are essential to creating smoke-free apartments/condominiums and public spaces, such as bus stops, outdoor public events, to name a few; without them, we cannot protect those people who need it most.”
In San Mateo County, Belmont received the highest grade, a B, while the majority of cities were given Ds or Fs.