Santa Monica continues to score well for its anti-smoking efforts according to the American Lung Association.

The ALA releases an annual report grading states, counties and individual cities. Santa Monica received an “A” for its Overall Tobacco Control. The overall grade is based on a points average across three categories. The City received an A for Smokefree Outdoor Air, a B for Smoke-free Housing, an A for Reducing Sales of Tobacco Products and bonus points for tackling second-hand smoke and licensing.

The outdoor category ranks the city based on the strength of its anti-smoking rules in seven outdoor areas and assigns points from 0-4. Santa Monica scored 19 out of a possible 28 points for dining areas (4), entryways (4), public events (2), recreation areas (4), service areas (4), sidewalks in commercial areas (1) and worksites (0).

The City earned eight points across three categories for Smoke-free Housing: Nonsmoking apartments (2), Nonsmoking Condominiums (2) and Nonsmoking Common Areas (4). In the single category for reducing sales, Santa Monica was awarded the full 4 points for licensing retailers.

A city needed three bonus points in the “Emerging Issues” category to raise its overall score and Santa Monica earned points for its licensing and second-hand smoke rules but did not earn points for restricting retailer locations, limiting sales in pharmacies, regulating flavored products or the minimum pack size of cigars.

According to City Hall, Santa Monica, prohibits smoking within 20 feet of entryways and windows of any buildings open to the public, in any outdoor dining areas, at any local beach, park or Farmers’ Markets, on the Santa Monica Pier, at the Third Street Promenade and public libraries, including grounds or at any bus stops, ATM lines or other service areas.

Smoking is also banned in residential common areas.

“The smoke-free areas at multi-unit residential properties now also include a 25-foot radius around all doors, windows, and vents. This includes private balconies, patios, porches, and decks within the 25-foot radius,” according to the City’s website.

In total, 31 cities or counties received the highest “A” ranking this year.

“This year, California began reaping the financial and health benefits of an increased tobacco tax,” said Mark Johnson, Board Chair for the American Lung Association in California. “I’ve seen personally how effective it can be as one of my close relatives, a long-time smoker, finally quite 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.”

Scores in nearby communities varied wildly including: Los Angeles (C), Beverly Hills (A), Culver City (B), El Segundo (D), Malibu (C), Manhattan Beach (A) and Unincorporated Los Angeles (C).

Overall, California had the best grades in the nation.

The nationwide report is available online at http://www.lung.org.

editor@smdp.com

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