Pasadena has received the highest grade in the American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2014” Report released Wednesday, January 22.
Pasadena is among eighteen cities and counties that received an “A” for their tobacco control policies. A total of 482 cities were included in the report, 61 percent of which received an “F.”
“These fifteen cities and three counties have demonstrated that there is public support and political will for strong tobacco control policies in all types of communities and have set a high bar for others to follow,” the report said.
The annual report grades the cities based on their policies for smoke-free housing and outdoor areas, and reducing sales of tobacco products.
Several Pasadena policies contributed to the city’s score such as having 100 percent smoke-free policy at all outdoor dining areas at bars and restaurants, service areas and recreation areas, as well as during public events; and prohibiting smoking within 20 feet of entrances, exits or operable windows of a public building.
The city also scored a bonus point for restricting smoking on sidewalks or other pedestrian walkways within all commercial areas or within a specified commercial or downtown area.
In addition, Pasadena has created policies for smoking in housing areas: 75 to 100 percent of multi-unit housing units must be declared nonsmoking areas, availability of designated smoking areas, smoking restricted in all indoor and outdoor common areas and provide disclosures about the smoking policies of the housing unit.
The report said that the city also reduced the sales of its tobacco products by passing ordinances that require tobacco retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco products, “which allows the municipalities to keep track of tobacco retailers, conduct enforcement activities to ensure compliance with state and local laws and penalize retailers who sell to minors.”
This year’s report highlights the 50th anniversary of the historic 1964 Surgeon Generalâ€™s report that linked smoking to lung cancer and other diseases for the first time. The 2014 study shows that tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the United States.
â€œDespite great strides in reducing smoking rates in America, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S.,â€ said Anita Lee, Interim CEO of the American Lung Association in California.
â€œWe must renew our commitment to stopping tobacco from robbing another generation of Americans of their health and future. We cannot afford another 50 years of tobacco use,â€ she added.
In California, tobacco use causes an estimated 36,000 deaths annually. More than 30,000 kids start smoking each year in the state, and tobacco use costs the stateâ€™s economy $18.1 billion in combined health care and lost productivity.
â€œNo matter how big or small the city or county, local tobacco control policies saves lives,” said Marsha Ramos, Chair of the American Lung Association in California Governing Board. “Tobacco use continues to take a toll on the lives of both adults and kids, so these grades represent real health consequences.â€
The American Lung Association is one of the leading organizations that advocate lung health improvement and prevention of lung disease. For more information about the American Lung Association, call (800) 586-4872 or visit http://www.lung.org/california.