CREDIT: From Vallejo Times-Herald
By Irma Widjojo
2/3/2016 – Solano County cities once again received failing grades in the State of Tobacco Control 2016 report released Wednesday.
However, a Solano County official said improvements have been made by municipalities, though they may not be reflected on the overall letter grades.
The report, prepared by the American Lung Association, assesses California cities on policies for smokefree outdoor air, smokefree housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products.
Like last year, most of the Solano County cities, except for Vallejo, were graded “F.”
Vallejo received a grade of “D.”
However, the report acknowledged that Suisun City has adopted a policy that requires public events at the park to be smoke-free. The county has also banned smoking in all Solano County-owned or -leased campuses.
“I was pleased to see that some our jurisdictions’ success are reflected in the points, while not in grade,” said Felicia Flores-Workman. “I still see progress is being made.”
Flores-Workman is the project director for tobacco prevention and education program at the Solano County Public Health Division.
She said there are many coalitions and partners throughout the county that have been working toward developing tobacco-control policies.
For example, Fairfield is working on a smoke-free park ordinance, and Benicia, Vallejo and Vacaville are also actively looking into a working tobacco retail licensing policy, Flores-Workman said.
“That would reduce youth access to tobacco,” she added regarding the retail license.
Though the report card is a good reminder about what needs more to be done as well as success stories, Flores-Workman said the important thing is to keep on moving forward with creating better policies.
“Ultimately it’s not the grade we’re trying to improve. We’re trying to improve the community health,” she said.
American Canyon also received an “F.”
The report found that 10 of the 17 cities it graded an “A” for tobacco-control policies were in the Bay Area. This year, El Cerrito, Daly City, Mill Valley, Berkeley, Dublin, Marin County, Richmond, San Rafael and Santa Clara County were recognized for leading the state in creating smoke-free residences, making efforts to reduce smoke outdoors, and for reducing sales of tobacco products.
The American Lung Association in California is also working to place a $2 tax on all tobacco products on the November ballot.
The organization states California has not raised its tobacco tax since 1999 and ranks 35th in the country.
Flores-Workman said there are many opportunities for the public to be involved in county-wide or city-specific coalitions and working groups that help develop tobacco control policies.
The Solano County Tobacco Prevention and Education Program is also set to host a free training on second-hand and third-hand smoke from 10 a.m. to noon, Feb. 11, at Suisun City Council Chambers 701 Civic Center Blvd.
A reservation is necessary.
For more information or to RSVP, call 707-784-8900 or visit tobaccofreesolano.org.
To view the report, visit www.lung.org.