LOS ANGELES, Jan. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Lung Association released the State of Tobacco Control 2012, an annual report that provides grades to the federal government and all 50 states and the District of Columbia on four key tobacco control areas. In conjunction with this national report, the American Lung Association in California released the State of Tobacco Control 2012 - California Local Grades, which issues grades to all cities and counties in California on local tobacco control polices including those for smokefree outdoor environments, smokefree housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products. To view the complete report, visit www.lung.org/california.
Once a national leader in tobacco control policies, California's efforts are now lagging. The state received an F for failing to adequately fund tobacco prevention and control programs and a D for its low cigarette tax. California currently ranks 33rd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for its $0.87 per pack tax, far below the national average of $1.46. While California earned an A for smokefree air policies, the state received another F for poor coverage of smoking cessation and treatment services.
On the local front, several communities are improving their tobacco control grades. In 2011, a total of 45 cities and counties adopted new tobacco control policies to protect their citizens from the harmful effects of tobacco. While many jurisdictions took action to adopt strong policies and improve their grades, a total of 355 cities and counties – 66 percent of all jurisdictions in the state – received an F for their overall tobacco grade.
Both the state and local grades demonstrate the need for California voters to pass the California Cancer Research Act on the June 2012 ballot. "Now is the time for California to raise the grade," said Jane Warner, President and CEO, American Lung Association in California. "The California Cancer Research Act is an historic opportunity for California voters to provide more than $855 million annually to fund research for cancer and other tobacco-related diseases as well as proven tobacco prevention, education, and law enforcement efforts which will prevent 228,700 kids in California from becoming addicted smokers." The California Cancer Research Act is strongly supported by the American Lung Association in California, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. More information can be found at www.californiansforacure.org.
The California Cancer Research Act ballot measure would increase the state's tobacco tax by $1.00 per pack and dedicate revenues to the treatment, prevention and, ultimately, cures for lung disease, heart disease and stroke, cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses. The measure also would triple state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.
The municipalities who made the largest grade improvements in the State of Tobacco Control 2012 - California Local Grades are the cities of Compton, Baldwin Park and Pasadena. These cities raised their overall grade to an A, joining nine other cities and counties to make a total of 12 California municipalities earning an overall grade of A.
Santa Clara County continues to be a leader in demonstrating political will for strong tobacco control policies. "I am extremely proud of Santa Clara county and the steps we've taken to raise our grade," said Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Supervisor. "This year, I encourage residents and elected officials throughout California, whether they have an F grade or an A grade, to endorse and help pass the California Cancer Research Act. It is the single, most important thing we can do to raise the grade in California and protect our children from the deadly impacts of tobacco."
About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org/california.
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SOURCE American Lung Association in California