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Union City Among Three Bay Area Cities to Receive an 'A' for Tobacco Control Policies

With the exception of Union City and a handful of others, most of the California and the Bay Area received poor grades on the American Lung Cancer Association report card.

By Bay City News Service and Patch Staff    

The American Lung Association released a report grading cities, counties and states on the state of tobacco control and the protection of residents from second-hand smoke today, and California and the Bay Area did not fare well.

California did earn an A grade for smoke-free air policies, but received a failing grade for access to smoking cessation and treatment services, and an F grade for inadequately funding tobacco prevention and control programs.

The state also earned a D grade for its cigarette tax, which the American Lung Association said ranks 33rd among the 50 states at 87 cents per pack. The national average is $1.46 per pack.

In the Bay Area, there are several fresh air oases, and three Bay Area cities were among the 12 municipalities statewide that received A grades for their smoking policies: Union City, Albany and Richmond.

Two of the Bay Area's largest cities, San Francisco and Oakland, each earned a B grade, while the largest city, San Jose, earned a C.

But beyond that, most Bay Area cities earned grades of D or F.

Every city in three area counties received an F grade: Monterey County, Napa County and Solano County. The failing grades come with plenty of company, however, as 66 percent of all jurisdictions in the state received an F grade.

Only one city in San Mateo County received a grade above a C: Belmont, which received a B.

The scoring for each city is based on whether restrictions on smoking in public outdoor areas are in place, smoking in residential housing is limited, and whether there are restrictions intended to reduce sales of tobacco products.

Each of those categories is scored by other steps commonly taken by cities for reducing smoking, for example whether tobacco can be sold in pharmacies or near schools and parks, and whether smoking is banned at public events and worksites.


The City of Union City passed a new smoking ordinance in November 2010 that banned smoking in apartment complexes and at public events and certain outdoor locations.

Though the ordinance was passed in late 2010, the city gave landlords 14 months to modify leases, notify tenants about the new laws and install signage to restrict smoking.

The ban goes into effect on Feb. 23. Apartment tenants will then be able to pursue civil litigation if their neighbors contine to smoke. 

Other Bay Area cities also recently passed anti-smoking ordinances, including Alameda, where a new law strictly limiting public smoking took effect on Jan. 2. Alameda earned a B on the report card.

But to earn a better statewide grade, the American Lung Association is urging Californians to pass the California Cancer Research Act on the June 2012 ballot.

The measure would increase the state's tobacco tax by $1 per pack, and the revenues would go to researching, treating and preventing lung disease, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses.


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