Northern California is falling behind, once again, in their efforts on tobacco control. According to American Lung Association, it's up to the local governments to fix the problem.
American Lung Association California Project Director Shelly Brantley says, "It does take a comprehensive, aggressive approach by the community, especially by the elected officials." Something, Brantley says, is not being done in the north state.
The report says the counties and cities are not providing enough smoke free outdoor air, or smoke free housing. But a few areas in the north state, did make improvements. Chico, Anderson, and Shasta County each received a 'D' grade, the highest in the region. "We're really proud of the work that those local communities have done and basically they did that by passing stronger clean outdoor air policies," says Brantley.
There is another way, she says, to improve these grades.. By raising the tax on tobacco products. But smokers, like Donny Veteto, says higher tax just doesn't seem fair. "It's just more money out of our pockets. I remember when smokes were a $1.92 a pack and now they're $6 a pack," says Veteto.
The state currently ranks 33rd among the 50 states for its $.87 per pack tax, far below the national average of a $1.46 cents. Brantley says, "If California voters pass a tax on tobacco products in June, then the grades can raise in all these communities in California and the state as a whole."
For 2011, a total of 45 cities and counties adopted new tobacco control policies. But 355, or 66-percent of all jurisdictions in the state, still received an 'F' for their overall grade.