State of Tobacco Control, Here We Come

Yep, it’s that time of year again… Time to gear up for State of Tobacco Control grading.

The State of Tobacco Control (SOTC) Report is a national report grading every state which is released by the American Lung Association each January. In coordination with the national report, the State of Tobacco Control – California Local Grades report issues grades for all 482 cities and 58 counties in California on local policies for smokefree outdoor environments, smokefree housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products.

While the report is not released until January each year, the process of grading the cities and counties in California begins much, much earlier. In fact, the process for preparing our 2013 California report started this week! The grading process starts each September with American Lung Association in California staff reviewing the grading criteria from the previous year to determine if there were any issues in the previous year. Then in October Lung Association staff begin to review hundreds of municipal codes from cities and counties across the state to determine their grades. We get input on the grades from our partners in tobacco control during November. And then the final report is compiled and written in December.

Although the grading process is beginning now, remember that the grades will include all policies that pass before December 31, 2012. So there is still time for your city to pass a policy in the next three months. If you are interested in reminding your elected officials about the SOTC report, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Provide information to elected officials on what policies would be needed to raise their grade to an A grade or B grade during your one-on-one meetings with them
  2. Write a letter to the editor or an op-ed about raising the grades in the local newspaper
  3. Speak during public comment periods at council and commission meetings and ask elected officials to raise the city’s grades

And most importantly, mark your calendars for the release of SOTC 2013 on January 16, 2013!

 –Vanessa Marvin

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