How do California’s new tobacco laws affect you?
A recent report by the American Lung Association says California remains one of the top states in the U.S. in terms of curbing tobacco use, but Sacramento isn’t a star performer.
In fact, the capital city flunked many categories covered in the report, which grades every county and all 482 cities in California on an A to F scale.
Sacramento County and the city proper ended up barely cracking a C score, the association’s report found.
The grading system awards points in four areas: smokefree outdoor air, smokefree housing, reducing sales of tobacco products and a “bonus points” section for emerging issues (such as restricting sale of flavored tobacco products).
The city of Sacramento performed poorly in smokefree outdoor air – the association notes it has policies restricting tobacco use in recreation areas, but in none of the six other areas listed (dining, entryways, public events, service areas, sidewalks and worksites). Sacramento also scored 0 points for smokefree housing.
Sacramento earned an A for its tobacco retailer licensing regulations – and the city tallied two related bonus points for its licensing of emerging products and restrictions on tobacco retail locations.
The city’s overall tobacco control score was a 5 out of a possible 12, which the association grades as the minimum for a C.
The county’s best-performing cities were Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova – the latter earned a B for providing smokefree air and regulating tobacco retailers but lacked ordinances on smoking in apartments.
A 0 in the “smokefree housing” category doesn’t mean there’s a lack of houses or apartments where cigarette and tobacco use is prohibited, of course. But as the association’s grading rubric explains, there are no city ordinances in Sacramento (or state laws) that prohibit smoking in 75 percent or more of an apartment complex’s units. Nonsmoking apartments are typically a product of property owners’ policies.
Citrus Heights improved notably since last year’s report, raising its outdoor air score from an F to an A.
Only 39 California cities or counties received an A grade, including several in the Bay Area: Berkeley, Alameda, Palo Alto, Sonoma and a few others.
The report gathered data through Jan. 2. American Lung Association points out that California is in the top 5 nationwide for reducing tobacco use.
However, the association pushes for improvement. ALA says in the report that the study’s goal is to “increase public knowledge about local laws that protect residents from the deadly toll of tobacco and to encourage local leadership to take action where improvement is needed.”
“By passing a strong tobacco tax in 2016, continuing to support coverage of smoking cessation programs and other key quit tools and standing up to the billions spent in lobbying by Big Tobacco, the state remains a leading nationwide advocate for healthy lungs and clean air,” American Lung Association senior director of advocacy Lindsey Freitas said in a prepared statement.
Citrus Heights: C
Elk Grove: C
Rancho Cordova: B
El Dorado County
Placerville, South Lake Tahoe and unincorporated areas all received an F grade.
Auburn, Colfax, Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin, Roseville and unincorporated areas all received an F grade.
West Sacramento: D