La Mesa Gets 'F' Grade for Tobacco Control

Photo credit: Getty Images.
Photo credit: Getty Images.

 Most cities in San Diego County received poor grades Wednesday in the American Lung Association's 2014 report on tobacco control policies.

The results reflected a stagnation of tobacco control efforts across the state, according to the "State of Tobacco Control 2014" report. The organization called on California cities to renew their commitment to reducing tobacco use through policies restricting sales, providing smoke-free housing and limiting exposure to second-hand smoke.

The highest marks for overall tobacco control were given to El Cajon and Solana Beach, each of which received a B grade. They were rewarded for licensing tobacco retailers. Additionally, El Cajon was lauded for banning smoking in common areas of multi-family housing units. The City Council is also considering a ban the sale of electronic cigarettes.

The city of San Diego received a D.

Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos and Santee were each given F grades, as was the unincorporated county.

"We are proud of the work being done in San Diego and Imperial (counties) to protect residents from the harmful effects of tobacco," said Joe Kellejian, the former mayor of Solana Beach and a member of the Lung Association's San Diego Leadership Board.

"However, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S.," Kellejian said. "We must renew our commitment to stopping tobacco from robbing another generation of their health."

Cities were assigned points by a review of various tobacco-control policies, ranging from smoking restrictions at restaurants and public areas to smoke-free housing and restrictions on tobacco sales near schools and parks.

The association gave out A grades to 18 cities and counties in the state.

Statewide, the report gave California an A grade for its smoke-free air policies, but a D for having a low cigarette tax, an F for insufficient funding of tobacco-prevention and control programs and an F for poor coverage of smoking treatment services.

More than 60 percent of cities in the state received an overall F grade.

"The policies reflected in this report demonstrate the leadership at the local level to ensure that all Californians breathe clean and healthy air," according to Marsha Ramos, chair of the Lung Association's California Governing Board. "No matter how big or small the city or county, local tobacco- control policies save lives. Tobacco use continues to take a tool on the lives of both adults and kids, so these grades represent real health consequences."

City News Service
Things I Learned January 22, 2014 at 05:07 PM
You should not take a tool on people's lives.
Stan January 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Frankly, I'm surprised at the "F" Grade for La Mesa. Smokers today have lower IQs as well as lower levels of income and education. And La Mesa has higher demographics in all these catagories.
Kevin George January 23, 2014 at 12:44 PM
Stan, these grades are for City government, not the Citizens of LM. The ALA thinks that the City of La Mesa has woefully disregarded its duty to protect the Citizens from themselves and their freedom to live the life they choose. If the City would just control these low intelligence, low income people who seem to think that their lives are theirs to live, the ALA would be happy to give us a big A+! PS:I'm a non smoking freedom addict.
Bill Jaynes January 23, 2014 at 12:50 PM
Is the e-cig stuff part of the report? While I'm not a fan of smoking as a general proposition, I find the local attempts to ban electronic cigarettes troubling. They seem to be driven more by a sense of authoritarian paternalism and kneejerk political pandering than by any real public policy concerns. There is not even a veneer of third party harms to justify meddling in people's private pleasures. El Cajon may see fit to order it's citizenry about in such fashion, but I would hope that La Mesa adheres to current Council policy to stick to issues that are "germane to the operation" of the City, and that unless there is a tangible threat to public health, we heed Mayor Madrid's advice regarding last year's report: "I have told them, the ALA, that their time and energy would be better served and more effective, if they focused their attention on those issues at the federal and state levels, where legislation will address all of their concerns." http://lamesa.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/la-mesa-earns-f-for-its-tobacco-policies
Stan January 23, 2014 at 01:08 PM
Do we have any stats on smoking in La Mesa? Maybe the City doesn't have to be concerned. As far as" personal freedom" is concerned, the freedom to smoke (smoking itself is an addiction and all addictions are self-imposed loss of freedoms) does affect others. From higher health costs to trillions in property damage, smoking has no upside for anybody. Besides, smokers are ruining their dopamine receptors.
Bill Jaynes January 23, 2014 at 01:13 PM
All I can say, speaking as a poor, beleaguered shopkeep for whom sweeping all the overnight cigarette stubs off my parking lot and the City's sidewalks is a daily ritual, is: e-cigs are the best thing since the nicotine patch! Certainly better than gum, given that my knees aren't up to a weekly sidewalk scraping anymore.
Kevin George January 23, 2014 at 01:30 PM
Yes, the Mayor was right for all the wrong reasons last year. The result was good because the Council refused to bend to the ALA threats. But the Mayor only thought that the effort would be better spent elsewhere, disregarding the Citizens freedom at the Federal and State level instead of here locally. Thank God for small favors.
Kevin George January 23, 2014 at 02:17 PM
Stan, what do other peoples dopamine receptors have to do with you. If someone wants to kill themselves by smoking, drinking, drugs or basejumping for that matter what concern is it of mine? Other than of course the new health care system that inexorably ties us all together, what jurisdiction do I have over another human beings personal behavior? But now that that veil has been pierced be ready for the control of what we eat, because that is next on the " busy body"list. Were you in favor of Bloombergs soda ban?
Things I Learned January 23, 2014 at 05:15 PM
Robert Coleman January 23, 2014 at 07:51 PM
Tobacco "CONTROL" says it all. When did we become a nation of citizens willing to be "CONTROLLED". I'm not a smoker but I find it repulsive that my government, at any level, finds it appropriate to CONTROL its citizens. What next? Will La Mesa outlaw BIG GULPS? Perhaps a fine for wearing shoes that are too tight is next. A salt ban may be in the works. Perhaps a butter ban would be good too. GET OUT OF MY LIFE!!!
Michael Cargill January 25, 2014 at 04:33 AM
Marijuana is better anyway.


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