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Lung Association

Napa and Solano counties earned failing/near-failing grades on this year’s State of Tobacco Control report.

On Wednesday, the American Lung Association in California released its annual report that assigns grades to all California cities and counties, including Solano and Napa on key tobacco control policies.

“Both continue to fall behind other Bay Area counties in passing tobacco control measures that protect their citizens,” agency officials said.

For instance, no jurisdictions in Solano received higher than a D, and in 2018, Suisun City was the only jurisdiction to pass a policy.

Within Solano County, only Vallejo got better than an F grade, scoring a D, with three points.

Within Napa County, American Canyon and unincorporated Napa County got Ds, with two points each. Only one Napa County city passed a tobacco control law last year, and that was St. Helena’s adding electronic cigarettes to its definition of tobacco products, agency spokeswoman Alyssa Stratton said.

“Unfortunately it didn’t raise their grade, but gave them a bonus point,” she said. “This is a step in the right direction to make sure these new types of tobacco products are under the same rules as tradition ones.”

The latest American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control 2019 report reveals that California again leads the nation in efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use, though much work remains to be done, officials said.

California now has 39 towns and cities with an overall A grade, including eight which improved to an A from last year, according to the report. This year’s most improved city was San Mateo County’s Half Moon Bay, which raised its overall tobacco grade from an “F” to an “A.”

But despite all these successes, half of California’s population still live in communities scoring a D or F.

“Once again, California earned some of the best grades in the country, however, the fact remains that more than 9,000 children begin smoking each year in the state while more than 40,000 residents die from smoking related causes,” said Vanessa Marvin, American Lung Association Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy.

While California received solid grades in many areas, a disturbing trend is threatening the health of the state’s young people with youth e-cigarette use reaching epidemic levels due to a 78 percent increase in high school e-cigarette use from 2017 to 2018, according to results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, agency officials said. This has caused the U.S. Surgeon General to declare e-cigarette use among young people an epidemic in an Advisory issued in December 2018, they said.

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City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.