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Benicia Earns ‘F’ for Its Tobacco Policies

The state of California also received failing grades from the American Lung Association.

The American Lung Association in California gave the city of Benicia an F rating for its tobacco policies.

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.

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.

“Safeguarding our communities from the negative consequences of tobacco is critical,” said American Lung Association in California—San Diego Chairman Paul Manasjan. “These grades represent real health consequences. We know how to win the fight against tobacco, but it requires strong leadership and action by elected officials at all levels.”

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.”

To view the complete California report, including grades for cities in Solano County, visit www.lung.org/california or click on the PDF attached to this article.

"The Black Panther of Poetry" January 17, 2013 at 11:21 PM
SMOKE FREE I don't smoke and I don't chew and I don't associate with the folks who do!!!
Winter January 18, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Totally agree -- we ban dogs from everywhere yet allow smoking at Farmer's Market, all street events, all park events, etc. Just look at 4th of July activities: babies have to breath all the smokers crappola ... disgusting!
Michelle Kye January 18, 2013 at 05:22 PM
At least the city council is taking time to think about the hookah bar. I'm not in favor of smoking either. Be nice if some of our apartment complexes would consider becoming smoke-free or offering a section of units that are smoke-free. I know Club Pacifica was considering it, not sure if they made the leap.
David January 18, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Our refinery is in the bottom ten for air quality and now we have an F in tobacco policy? We're all doomed
Mernie January 21, 2013 at 06:36 PM
I like it - this just shows how tolerant and accepting Benicians are. Smokers are marginalized far more than drinkers and we've become much more polite about where we smoke. Thanks for letting me enjoy a little organic tobacco away from the crowd without making me a criminal.

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