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Let’s just say California’s grade from the American Lung Association is nothing to hang on the fridge.
The state earned a D in the American Lung Association’s 10th annual State of Tobacco Control report, and Los Angeles did not fare much better, earning a C for its overall tobacco control.
But, hey, at least it’s not failing, right?
Grades were based on three criteria: smokefree outdoor air, smokefree housing and reducing sales of tobacco products.
How well a city or county enforces its no-smoking laws near entryways, what percentage of multi-unit housing units are declared non-smoking and whether a municipality sells tobacco near schools, parks or in pharmacies are all factored in to the grading system.
Not everyone in the Southland failed, though.
Six cities in LA County boasted As: Baldwin Park, Calabasas, Compton, Glendale, Pasadena and South Pasadena.
But as a state, California’s report card went up in smoke.
The majority of cities and counties – 355, to be exact – failed in their overall tobacco control. Only 12 cities and counties earned an A, that’s just 2 percent of the state.
Part of that poor score is thanks to a comparatively lax method of regulating tobacco through taxes. West Coast smokers have been getting off easy when it comes to cigarette taxes.
Eighty seven cents is tacked on to every pack of cigarettes in California, while the most expensive state cigarette tax – in Rhode Island – comes in at $3.46 per pack, on top of a 7 percent sales tax.
Washington, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York and New Jersey are among the most expensive states for smokers.
Increased medical research about the health effects of tobacco has raised its social stigma, and cities across the country are pushing back against its public use.
Smoking has been banned from indoor restaurants, parks, beaches and farmers’ markets, and an ordinance initiated in 2011 extended that prohibition to outdoor dining areas in Los Angeles.