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Banning, Beaumont Get Passing Marks in Annual Lung Association Survey

Both cities were cited in the report for their tough licensing requirements for tobacco sales.

Banning and Beaumont each received passing grades in their efforts to curb tobacco use, according to an annual survey by the American Lung Association.

Banning received a C, while Beaumont was given a D in the annual report. Banning was given the higher grade for its efforts to ban smoking at outdoor recreation facilities.

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, visit www.lung.org/california.

ATC January 16, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Banning’s “anti-smoking” effort is a joke. It consisted only of passing an ordinance banning smoking at public parks, but is un-enforceable because the ordinance required “no smoking” signs to be installed, and they never were. It was simply a “feel good” ordinance that accomplished nothing in real life. As for California’s failure to raise tobacco taxes since 1999; that’s because the last tax increase was “sold” to us by promising that the money raised would be used for smoking programs and research. I voted for it, even though I was a smoker at the time, because I agreed with that premise. But gov’t lied to us (surprise!). Instead, the vast majority of the money from California’s 87 cent cigarette taxes go to programs that have absolutely nothing to do with smoking; First Five program, low income health care services for uninsured, environmental protection and recreation resources, breast cancer, and the general fund. None of that has anything to do with tobacco use. And of course the Federal cigarette tax of $1.01 is more of the same; it goes to children’s health insurance program. I have voted no on every tobacco tax initiative since, even though I no longer smoke, because I cannot trust the Government to actually use the money raised for what they say it will be used for. Punishing smokers to fund programs that have nothing to do with smoking is not only wrong, but counter-productive as well.
ATC January 16, 2013 at 11:21 PM
I wonder, if ALL of the existing Tobacco tax dollars were actually used for "funding tobacco prevention and control programs, smoking cessation and treatment services", would those programs still be "under-funded?" Doubtful. The statistics used here to try to justify higher taxes are also skewed (more lies). According to the American Lung Association themselves, 1.4 million youth TRY smoking each year NATIONWIDE, and about 350,000 actually BECOME smokers NATIONWIDE, less than 10% of the 3 million this article claims. That's right, they are overstating the numbers by TEN TIMES!!! Finally, the article also tries to make California look bad, when the reality is that California has the second lowest rate of smoking in the US, behind only Utah. EVERY other state has higher smoking rates, some double.

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