Tag Archives: California

State of Tobacco Control 2015

Hello world! A brand new and improved State of Tobacco Control – California Local Grades report is 6 months away from showing off its new changes! This is my third year working on this report and I believe this new grading methodology will highlight cities with the best tobacco control policies while pushing other jurisdictions to adopt stronger policies to protect the health of their community. Staff from all over the state were involved in these conversations and none of these changes in the report’s methodology were made lightly.

A major change occurring in this new methodology is in the Smokefree Housing Section. When the methodology for this report was first developed six years ago, there were very few smokefree housing policies passing and we were not sure what they would look like in the future. Since then, the bar has been raised by cities and counties across the state passing strong policies in all areas. Now that we know what these strong policies in housing look like, we are able to create a stronger grading methodology that will reflect these strong policies that we know will improve the health of California residents.

Another big change is the inclusion of a new section called Emerging Issues Bonus Points. This section lists Read More »

The American Lung Association Releases its 6th “Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2014 Report!”

To encourage and inform the public about tobacco cessation coverage, the American Lung Association released this new report which provides an overview of tobacco cessation coverage in Medicaid, state employee health insurance and other insurance.

By now, most people generally know that tobacco is harmful. However, there are many specific risks that most are uninformed about. Quitting smoking will immediately improve a smoker’s health and lower their risk for deadly diseases like heart disease and lung cancer. Not only does quitting smoking save lives, but it also saves money “from lower healthcare costs, increased workplace productivity and averted premature deaths.” With benefits like these, the American Lung Association stresses the need for policymakers, insurance plans and employers to help smokers quit. Included in this report is a plan of action for policymakers at both the state and federal level. Read More »

Nationally and Locally, There Have Been Great Strides in Tobacco Control, However, There is More Work to be Done and Changes to be Made!

The United States 50 years ago seems like a society filled with completely different people. The culture back then was very different than today, from the cars we drove and jargon used to ideas held on public health. 50 years ago, people didn’t know the true harm tobacco has on smokers and the people around them. So what led to this change?

In 1964, the Surgeon General released a report on smoking and health. This report was the first of its kind and detailed the dangers of tobacco and linked smoking to lung cancer and heart disease. Although it took a lot of time and work to change the social norm of the smoking culture of the past, this report was a hot button issue and still is today.

A new Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress, was just released 2 weeks ago. This new report finds that although there has been progress, 20 million Americans have died due to tobacco in the past 50 years. And 2.5 million of these deaths were among nonsmokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke. Another shocking fact found in the report is that tobacco is even deadlier and more addictive than it was 50 years ago because of the increased amount of nicotine put into tobacco products today. Read More »

Districts Are Good For Us

A couple years ago, there was a huge debate across the state about redrawing the legislative districts throughout California. And these legislative districts are an important aspect of our statewide events like Local Legislative District Days and I&E Days (I mean, how do you have District Days without districts?).

But district representation is also critical in the local communities we do most of our tobacco control work in. Recently, this news story from San Mateo caught my eye. Last November, San Mateo residents voted to become the last county in California to be divided into districts, rather than having their county board of supervisor members elected at-large.

This is good news to me because in general, having districts makes more accountable representatives and a more accountable government, since a supervisor/member represents fewer people. This gives all community members, in particular diverse populations and those in rural areas of a county, more access to the people who are representing them. Read More »

Oil Lobbying in California

As a visitor to this blog, you know that the American Lung Association in California Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing produces compelling reports on Tobacco Money in Politics to highlight the money the tobacco industry spends lobbying state officials. These reports are invaluable in highlighting the magnitude of the spending power of this industry and provide an important context for the difficult work of protecting our kids from deadly tobacco products.

Just as tobacco companies pour millions into lobbying and public relations to deflect attention away from the dangerous health impacts of smoking, oil companies are investing a fortune on lobbying to undermine clean air policies and protect the market for their polluting products.

Through June of this year, Big Oil has spent over $5 million on lobbying California policy-makers (and no, that doesn’t include donations to political campaigns). The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA is the lobbying organization for California oil interests) spent over $20 million since 2009, and is again leading all spending to influence California politics, and Chevron isn’t far behind (see news coverage, here and here). Given the major oil lobbying push in the Capitol at the end of the legislative session in early September, it will not be a surprise if this trend holds. Read More »