California once led the way in smoke-prevention policies, and when it comes to keeping the air smoke-free, we still do well — but a new report by The American Lung Association gives our state failing grades in other key areas.
While some California cities — most notably Baldwin Park, Compton and Pasadena — rose to become top performers after poor showings a year ago, the Golden State as a whole didn’t fare so well.
The Lung Association gave California an “F” for tobacco prevention and for what it said were inadequate efforts to help smokers kick the habit. It also criticized California’s cigarette tax, which is among the lowest in the country.
"Our tax on a pack of cigarettes is 87 cents," said Jane Warner, president and CEO of the American Lung Assocation in California. "The national average is $1.46."
Warner added, "that makes California the 33rd state in the nation in the tax. So we’ve got a lot of work to do in California."
Warner said the report demonstrates a need for voters to support a June ballot initiative that raises the cigarette tax to almost $2 a pack. That tax, she said, will generate $600 million a year for cancer research and another $200 million for tobacco prevention programs.