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Los Gatos Earns F in Tobacco Control

The state of California also received failing grades from the American Lung Association.

The American Lung Association in California gave Los Gatos an F rating for its tobacco policies.

The town's grade is worse this year compared to 2011 and 2012 when it received a D grade.

The annual report, which was released Wednesday, issues grades for all cities and counties in California on local tobacco control policies including those for smokefree outdoor environments, smokefree housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products.

Overall, the association said the state of California "falls short in adequately funding tobacco prevention programs to protect children and curb tobacco-caused disease." California earned an A grade for its smokefree air policies but received a D for its low cigarette tax, an F for failing to adequately fund tobacco prevention and control programs, and another F for poor coverage of smoking cessation and treatment services.

“Cities and counties in California have always led the way with strong tobacco control policies, and that continues to this day,” said Fred Lurmann, Chair of the Leadership Board of the American Lung Association in California – Greater Bay Area. “Safeguarding our communities from the negative consequences of tobacco is critical. The low grades represent real health consequences.”

The association also criticized the state for not increasing its cigarette tax since 1999 and spending only 15 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to adequately fund tobacco prevention programs and services to help people quit smoking.

There are about 3 million new youth smokers in the U.S. and 34,400 in California every year. About 37,000 deaths are caused by tobacco use, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

“We need to do more to fight the influence of tobacco interests in California politics,” said American Lung Association in California Chairwoman Marsha Ramos. “Our state elected officials have an opportunity to change course in 2013 and make big strides in the fight to end tobacco-caused death and disease. It’s going to take a great deal of political will, but we are confident our elected officials are up to the challenge. Our children’s health is depending on them.”

Santa Clara County State of Tobacco Control 2013 Overall Grade Smokefree Outdoor Air Smokefree Housing Reducing Sales of Tobacco Prodcuts Campbell B A F B Cupertino F D F F Gilroy F D F F Los Altos F D F F Lost Altos Hills F F F n/a Los Gatos F D F F Milpitas F D F F Mountain View D C F D Palo Alto D C F F Saratoga D D F D

To view the complete California report, visit www.lung.org/california.

Esmée St James January 16, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Great we have these eye-opening ratings, thanks for the info, Jennifer!
Larry Arzie January 16, 2013 at 11:04 PM
San Francisco charges a local tax of 20 cents per pack. I wonder why we don't put a dollar a pack on them locally to induce folks to quit. Yes people will go to Costco but we would effectively eliminate sales in Town. I don't know how S.F. gets away with it as the State forbids it, but if they can do it why not us.
Gary Hinze January 17, 2013 at 07:25 PM
What does this mean? Six F, three D and one B. Obviously not grading on a curve. Looks like a very biased rating. Reducing sales is a market function. Smoke free housing is an individual choice. Outdoor air affects the public and is therefore a matter for public policy. Where is the rating for smoke in public buildings? Where is the rating for smoke in government ofices? Where is the rating for health education? The referenced site says: "Grades are not intended to reflect the efforts of local tobacco control coalitions, the broader public health community or organizations working to advance local tobacco control policies. Instead, responsibility for enacting these life- and revenue-saving policies falls to the elected officials in each community." Local community officials have very little jurisdiction. This is a matter for public education, public health community and public opinion. There should be ratings for media, schools, public health agencies and public opinion. That is where policy changes originate.

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