The American Lung Association in California gave the city of Atherton an F rating for its tobacco policies, one of the lowest marks of any San Mateo County city.
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.
Menlo Park scored higher than Atherton thanks to the passage of an ordinance that bans smoking in public places. However, its score of a C remains the same as it was last year.
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 smokefree 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. “The low grades represent real health consequences,” he said.
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 every year. About 37,000 deaths are caused by tobacco use, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
2013 San Mateo County State of Tobacco Control Ratings: 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.
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