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Belmont Earns ‘B’ for Its Tobacco Policies

But most San Mateo County cities and the state of California received failing grades from the American Lung Association.

The American Lung Association in California gave the city of Belmont a B rating for its tobacco policies, some of the highest 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 smokefree outdoor environments, smokefree housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products.

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 if it were 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 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. “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 every year. About 37,000 deaths are caused by tobacco use, 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. 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.

Rob Chapman January 16, 2013 at 08:06 PM
So, Belmont gets a B for being a glorified police state. Yay Belmont.
Charles January 17, 2013 at 05:33 PM
I do not smoke and agree with Rob Chapman. I believe in individual Freedom and I am very wary of group think and Balkinisation of our fellow citizens. Either outlaw tobacco or leave the users alone.
Tommy Tee January 17, 2013 at 06:32 PM
I love the ban! It is nice not having to breathe second hand smoke from insonsiderate smokers.
Alivea January 18, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Alivea, It is too bad that we need laws to encourage people to be considerate of the health and safety of others. Thank you Belmont!!!!!!!!

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