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Lake Forest's Grade for Tobacco Control: Up In Smoke

See which South Orange County cities avoid the scathing indictment of the American Lung Association.

By City News Service

All but three cities in Orange County flunked in the eyes of the American Lung Association when it comes to tobacco-control policies, according to an annual report released by the organization on Wednesday.

Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods and Santa Ana received overall C grades on the report card issued by the anti-tobacco organization. Laguna Hills and Laguna Woods received A grades for reducing second-hand smoke outdoors, and Santa Ana received an A grade for reducing the sales of tobacco products, but overall they were judged mediocre.

Thirty-one other cities, including Lake Forest, received overall grades of F. The only positive mark the City received—and it amounted to a D grade—was Smoke-Free Outdoor Air in recreation areas, in which it received two points out of a possible 12; other sub-categories included dining, entryways, public events, service areas, sidewalks and worksites in which the City received zero points. In addition to Outdoor Air, the other main categories were Smoke-Free Housing, and Reducing Sales of Tobacco Products.

“Despite making great strides in reducing smoking rates in America, there is still much work to be done here in Orange County,'' said Dr. Afif El-Hasan, a board member of the American Lung Association in California's governing board. “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S. We must renew our commitment to stopping tobacco from robbing another generation of their health.”

The association is pushing cities to pass more laws reducing smoking, said Amanda Knitter of the association. The Buena Park City Council may consider an ordinance to ban smoking in recreational areas such as parks, a law the association favors, Knitter said.

The report did not specifically grade cities on e-cigarettes, but the association wants municipal leaders to consider them in the same way as regular cigarettes.

“Unfortunately, very little is known about the health effects of e-cigarettes, but it is important to note it is a tobacco product and thus should be regulated like one,” said Kimberly Amazeen, vice president of programs and advocacy for the association in California.

“It's kind of the Wild, Wild West of e-cigarette manufacturers taking a lesson out of Big Tobacco's playbook,” Amazeen said, referring to the use of celebrities to endorse the product as well as offering “candy flavored” e-cigarettes to appeal to youths.

California as a whole did poorly as well, despite receiving an A for smoke-free air; it received a D for cigarette tax, an F for tobacco prevention control/spending, and cessation coverage.

TELL US IN THE COMMENTS: Should the city make more of an effort to curtail smoking in public areas?

Mike Miloserdoff January 23, 2014 at 11:33 AM
I have never smoked in m y life, but I turn thumbs down to individuals and organizations who attempt social engineering on citizens of the USA, for a substance which is still legal at the federal government level. How about NY trying to outlaw Coca-Cola's > 16 ounces. What??
Annie G. January 23, 2014 at 06:18 PM
Hmmm..... does this apply to pot smoking as smoking, too--for that might explain the bad rating. half the residents under 30 here seem to think its colorado or something.

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