Lung Association gives Napa ‘D’ on tobacco report card

2013-01-16T18:30:00Z 2013-01-16T18:32:20Z Lung Association gives Napa ‘D’ on tobacco report cardISABELLE DILLS Napa Valley Register
January 16, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

Napa County made minuscule progress on its yearly report card from the American Lung Association, earning a D grade for its tobacco control policies. Last year, the county received an F.

The American Lung Association’s annual State of Tobacco Control report measures cities and counties for the number of ordinances that regulate smoke-free outdoor environments and smoke-free housing and reduce the sale of tobacco products.

Several nearby counties fared better in their overall tobacco control grades, with Sonoma County receiving a B, and Marin and Contra Costa counties both earning A’s.

Napa County has received several F grades in past tobacco control reports. The county earned a D this year thanks to new ordinances that further ban smoking in county and city parks.

Pam Granger, a tobacco programs manager for the Lung Association, blamed elected officials for dropping the ball on tobacco control. Granger said she hoped clean and healthy air would become a priority for Napa County’s elected officials in 2013.

“There’s quite a bit of room for improvement,” Granger said.

Restricting smoking in outdoor dining areas, for example, is one area where Napa County could raise its grade, she said. As one of the country’s top culinary destinations, Granger said Napa County should make it a priority to protect patrons and restaurant employees from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Peggy Klick, director of Community Action Napa Valley’s Tobacco Education and Quit Smoking programs, said that policies take time to develop, and elected officials are not to blame. She faulted the report for not taking Napa’s voluntary efforts into account.

Beginning in 2001, the Napa Tobacco Education Program developed a campaign to increase the number of voluntary smoke-free outdoor dining areas. By the end of 2004, 25 restaurants established formal, written policies related to non-smoking outdoor areas, Klick said. The latest numbers show 45 restaurants have smoke-free outdoor dining policies, she said.

At least 20 apartment complexes in Napa County also have voluntarily developed smoking bans, Klick said.

Many apartment complexes developed smoke-free policies thanks to Senate Bill 332, which went into effect last year. The bill gave landlords the specific power to ban smoking not only inside rental housing, but from the surrounding grounds.

The American Lung Association’s county report was issued the same day as its national report, which evaluates federal and state policies. In 2012, 45 California cities and counties adopted new tobacco control policies.

But another 341 cities and counties — 63 percent of all jurisdictions in the state — received an F.

“Once a national leader in tobacco control policies, California’s efforts are now lagging,” according to the lung association.

The state earned failing grades for inadequately funding tobacco prevention and control programs and for its low cigarette tax. California ranks 33rd in the country for its 87-cents-per-pack tax, far below the national average of $1.48. States such as Texas, Oklahoma and Montana now have higher tobacco taxes than California, according to the lung association.

“The California Legislature must make it a priority to pass a tobacco tax and invest the money in California’s pioneering tobacco prevention program,” said Marsha Ramos, chair, American Lung Association in California Governing Board. “Tobacco taxes for tobacco prevention will save the state billions of dollars in health care costs while preventing kids from ever beginning to smoke and helping current smokers quit.”

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(4) Comments

  1. pb
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    pb - January 17, 2013 7:33 am
    I'm pleased to see this issue coming to light again. I have felt for some time that Napa is far behind in helping to eliminate second hand smoke issues. Some time back I sent an email to nearly ever official in Napa, including the mayor. I asked some fair and pertinent questions re: this issue, including when we could possibly see some improvement, was anything being done, etc. (This may have been right after someone lit up a cigar in an outdoor area where I was eating.) Not ONE person in office responded to me. I was both surprised and disappointed. I did, however, end up on mailing lists. Interesting. I know we've made some improvements and things can be slow to change but we should be farther ahead at this point. Hopefully this will help get things moving forward again.
  2. chunk215
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    chunk215 - January 17, 2013 8:03 am
    The stench of a smoker after they finish smoking is worse than the smell of second hand smoke but obviously not as harmful to our health.
  3. fmmt47
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    fmmt47 - January 17, 2013 9:41 am
    The Lung Association should get lost, enough has been done already to reduce smoking indoors. If they get their way pretty soon you'll have a cop pounding on your door if you light up.
  4. selim_sivad
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    selim_sivad - January 17, 2013 1:06 pm
    The lung association says “Once a national leader in tobacco control policies, California’s efforts are now lagging,”

    Well...yeah. It's the law of diminishing returns. You can only go so far on restricting freedoms before you are left with either criminalizing the behavior outright, or subjecting those practicing the behavior to further humiliation and exile. California has criminalized smoking within 20' of public entrances, in all enclosed public spaces, and in most public parks. What's left?

    This is an example of the lung association becoming a victim of their own success; cigarette usage is at an all-time low...probably as low as it could realistically be in an industrialized nation with our cultural demographic makeup. Now they're fighting for relevancy, so they go on encouraging municipalities to add yet MORE laws on the books just so they can give some worthless grade.

    Let's focus on real problems, not this phony 'D' from a obsolete organization.
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