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 today.
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 Laguna Beach, received overall grades of F.
“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.
--City News Service