Jan 26, 2015
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Richmond’s tough anti-smoking laws helped maintain the city’s ‘A’ grade in the State of Tobacco Control 2015.

The American Lung Association of California (ALAC)  report, released last week, surveyed how cities are faring in the policy battle against tobacco consumption and second-hand smoke.

It graded 482 cities and 58 counties in California on four tobacco control policies: prevention spending, smoke-free air, tobacco taxes and cessation coverage. The report coincided with an assessment of tobacco policies in cities and counties nationwide.

Of all Contra Costa County cities, Richmond received the best overall score for tobacco control. El Cerrito and the unincorporated areas of the county received a B grade, Pinole a C and San Pablo a D.

Richmond’s vigorous policymaking since 2009 has been credited for the high score. The city had received failing grades until that year, when its council passed several ordinances.

Among the policy decisions, Richmond council passed comprehensive outdoor smoking bans and also banned tobacco sales in stores that have pharmacies. The city also made it illegal to smoke inside multi-unit residences, within the private areas of those residences such as balconies, patios and decks and in common areas of multi-unit housing — rules that took effect in 2011. In late 2013, the council voted to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes in certain public spaces.

Richmond’s policy decisions overall on tobacco control scored higher than all of California’s top 10 most populated cities:


Here is how Contra Costa County jurisdictions fared, noting again that Richmond is the only city to receive an overall A grade: (Click image to enlarge)

smoke.1-23-1Last year in California, 40 cities and counties passed ordinances embracing anti-smoking policies, according to the ALAC.

“The report shows that local policies prohibiting secondhand smoke in recreational settings now protect 80-percent of California’s total population,” the organization said.

Then again, 324 cities and counties in the state, or 60-percent of all municipalities, took little to no action last year to improve their grade, it added.

ALAC also recommends that California increase its tobacco tax, which hasn’t been done in the state since 1999. Tax hikes are proven to reduce tobacco use, the organization said.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.