California leads nation in annual 'State of Tobacco Control' report


Last updated 2/9/2018 at 3:23pm

LOS ANGELES – The newly released American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control 2018 report shows California leads the nation, earning strong grades for its tobacco control policies. The 16th annual report grades states and the federal government on policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use. California’s grades improved to the best in the nation thanks to strong policies across the state and the enactment of the new tobacco tax increase approved by voters.

“This year, California began reaping the financial and health benefits of an increased tobacco tax,” Mark Johnson, board chair for the American Lung Association in California, said. “I’ve seen personally how effective it can be as one of my close relatives, a longtime smoker, finally quit the day the tobacco tax went into effect. Our family was so grateful for his lifestyle change and we’ve already seen a big improvement in his health.”

The hundreds of millions in increased tobacco taxes from Proposition 56 now flowing to critical state health and prevention programs led to a big grade increase for California. The state received an “A” grade for funding for state tobacco prevention programs, up from an “F” in 2016. California’s grade for smoking cessation services also improved from an “F” to a “C.”

California also earned an “A” for its “Smoke-free Air Policies,” a “B” for the “Level of Tobacco Taxes” and a “B” for the “Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21.”

In conjunction with the national report, the American Lung Association in California released its companion State of Tobacco Control 2018 – California Local Grades report, which issues grades for all 482 cities and 58 counties in California on local tobacco control policies.

Highlights from this year’s report include: a record number of 10 communities improved their overall grade to an “A” from last year; California now has 31 communities with an overall “A” grade and 17 fewer communities received an overall “F” grade compared to last year.

This past year, some cities changed their policies thanks to the hard work of youth in the community. Cities like Laguna Beach in Orange County and Bell Gardens and Bell in Los Angeles County passed smoke-free policies that will improve public health.

“It was such a cool experience for us. We were able to talk to the Bell City Council and tell them how smoking at public parks set a bad example for kids in our community and they responded,” Beatrice Castillo, a senior at Bell High School, said. “We actually made a difference. It’s a beautiful feeling to know that as a youth, you’ve been able to convince elected officials to listen to you. It was very inspiring.”

But despite all these community successes, half of California’s population still live in communities scoring a “D” or “F.” It includes nearly half of the 10 most populous cities in the state, including Anaheim, Los Angeles and Long Beach which remain in the middle of the pack with “C” grades.

“Smoking rates continue to decline in California, yet tobacco use remains the state’s leading cause of preventable death and disease, killing nearly 40,000 Californians each year,” Vanessa Marvin, vice president of public policy and advocacy for the American Lung Association in California, said. “Tobacco use is a serious addiction, and the fact that 11 percent of California adults still smoke highlights how much work remains to be done in our communities to prevent and reduce tobacco use.”

State and local elected officials continue to pursue policies that reduce youth access to tobacco products and e-cigarettes, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing and public facilities and protect those relentlessly targeted by Big Tobacco’s deceptive marketing campaigns including low-income and rural communities and the LGBTQ community.

The American Lung Association in California is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy. The Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer, to improve the air people breathe, to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association in California or to support the work it does, call (800) 685-4872 or visit


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019