Only 13% of Californians are smokers, the second lowest rate in the nation. But the public policies that limit or discourage tobacco use in communities across the state are all over the map.
One reason, perhaps, that Petaluma's new smoking restrictions met with scant opposition, is their limited reach. Mayor David Glass says enforcement of those rules will be mostly on a case by case basis.
The Golden State was once a leader in smoking prevention efforts, says Pam Granger of the American Lung Association of California. But now we have fallen toward the back of the pack.
And in the most recent statewide policy battle over tobacco--Proposition 29, which would have increased cigarette taxes—Granger observes that the industry spent heavily to oppose the measure, and narrowly succeeded.
In addition to their overall assessment of the State of Tobacco Control in California, the American Lung Association also grades individual counties and the cities withiin them on the same policy areas. Here are their rarings for the counties in our region: