Around Town | January 15, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 15, 2010

Around Town

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE ... Palo Alto isn't exactly a smoker's paradise. The health-conscious city takes pride in having smoke-free playgrounds, bleachers and trails. Even in the busiest stretches downtown, visitors often have to wander for several blocks before spotting a pedestrian with a cigarette. Last year, the city halted its proposal to ban smoking at all parks after the Parks and Recreation Commission recognized that the issue is, well, a non-issue. So residents could be justifiably confused to learn that the city just received a grade of "D" from the American Lung Association when it comes to "tobacco control." The association's new report, State of Tobacco Control 2009, gives grades of either D or F to every city in Santa Clara County. The association established the grade based on the existence — or non-existence — of local laws in three areas: smoke-free outdoor air, smoke-free housing and reducing sales of tobacco products. Generally smoke-free Palo Alto's grades in the three categories were C, F and F, respectively. But residents shouldn't feel too depressed about Palo Alto's mediocre placement. The county received an F, as did two-thirds of the cities and counties surveyed. Meanwhile, only four California cities earned an A grade: Albany, Glendale, Calabasas and Richmond.

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