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California Improves Tobacco Control, But Many Counties Still Have Weak Policies

Reed Saxon / AP

Reed Saxon / AP

Drew Sandsor l Capital Public Radio

California has reestablished itself as one of the leaders in tobacco control policies.

The 15th annual American Lung Association's State of Tobacco Control report showed California improved its grades in a number of areas thanks to several new laws, says Diana Douglas, policy analyst with the American Lung Association.

"Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, regulating e-cigarettes the same as tobacco, strengthening workplace smokefree laws, and also raising out state tobacco tax up to $2.87 per pack of cigarettes," Douglas says. "So as a result, California is one of the most improved states in the nation."

Despite the praise for California, the report found more than 50 percent of the state's population live in communities scoring a D or an F.

The report also graded all 58 counties in California and 482 cities, rating more than 50 percent of the state's population living in communities scoring either a D or F.

The Sacramento region was cited as lacking strong tobacco control policies, receiving the same grade as last year: a C.

Auburn and Roseville earned Fs, as did Placer, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, San Joaquin, Sierra, Stanislaus and Yuba counties.

Douglas says the grades are based on four key areas.

"They are smoke-free outdoor air, smoke-free housing, reducing sales of tobacco products, and finally, a fourth category that awards bonus points for emerging issues such as e-cigarettes," Douglas says.

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