Tag Archives: State of Tobacco Control

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 »

State of Tobacco Control

This is my second year working on the American Lung Association in California’s State of Tobacco Control – California Local Grades report. This report is released in coordination with the national SOTC report which grades all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Federal Government on their tobacco control policies.

Last year, when we began the process in September to grade local city and county tobacco control policies for the California report, I was surprised at how early in the year we started. But in order to ensure that policies are graded accurately and that we can capture all new policies, this timeline is important.

Although it might seem like this year’s report is a long ways away, the truth is that Lung Association staff are already busy at work grading all the policies that have passed this year. One thing that stands out to me from last year is the great way the entire team comes together to make this report the huge success that it is. Read More »

Who do you think is at the top of the class?

The other day, a friend who recently turned 21 asked me if I knew of any bars that allowed smoking indoors. At first, I had to laugh, then told her that I have read multiple municipal codes of countless cities and counties in California for the State of Tobacco Control 2013: California Local Grades Report and I did not know of any cities that allow smoking inside restaurants and bars. I also told her I’ve been to many bars and have only seen people get kicked out for smoking inside. To my surprise, she was shocked at my response. She said she has seen many television shows that depict smoking in bars and just thought that could have been the norm and maybe she could find one that allowed smoking indoors in Oakland. To shock her even further, I told her Oakland actually has a very good Tobacco Control Grade of a B. This is an example of a commonly held belief that cities with greater socio-economic hardships and higher diversity have more lenient tobacco control policies, however, this seems to be a misconception.

The misconception stems from the fact that the tobacco industry targets these types of communities. But what appears to happen in response in some communities is that the city tries harder to create stronger policies to hamper the tobacco industry’s efforts. Given this information, it is not surprising to find that the top 17 cities and counties to receive an Overall Tobacco Control grade of an A vary in income and racial diversity. Albany, Calabasas, Compton, Richmond, and Santa Monica are all found together in the top 17 regardless of their many differences. The similarities, however, are that their city councilmembers are doing great jobs protecting their residents from the harmful effects of tobacco. The State of Tobacco Control Report also points out that there is no correlation between population and strong tobacco control policies; the cities in the top 17 range from populations as low as 18,488 (Albany) to 192,654 (Glendale). All of this information can be found in the new section in the State of Tobacco Control 2013: California Local Grades report, called “Top of the Class.” This section details the race, median income, and population of these top cities. Read More »

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. Read More »

Cutting Tobacco’s Rural Roots

Last week, the American Lung Association released a new report called Cutting Tobacco’s Rural Roots:  Tobacco Use in Rural Communities, which examines the uphill battle rural communities face against tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke.  The report also discusses the environmental, social and cultural factors that contribute to a higher rate of tobacco use among youth and adults in rural America. 

Of course being a national report, a lot of the information is focused on far off places like Arkansas and Kentucky. (In fact, the report was a big reminder to me that many places in the country are still struggling to pass smokefree workplaces laws.)

But even here in California the smoking prevalence rate in rural communities is between 16% and 21%. This is significantly higher than the statewide smoking prevalence rate of 12.1%. In addition, youth in California’s rural communities are two times more likely to use smokeless tobacco than their counterparts who live in urban areas.

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