Around town | January 24, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 24, 2014

Around town

A D-GRADING GRADE ... Palo Alto got a D on its "smoking report card" from the American Lung Association. How can that be? What about the city's swift and decisive move to ban smoking in all its parks? Don't they know about the city's consideration of a smoking ban in both its major commercial thoroughfares? Apparently, they do, and it's still not enough to earn an "A" grade — an honor that only 18 cities in California share, including Berkeley, which just made it onto the shortlist this year. The report states that smoking-cessation efforts across the country have been working, but the air in California has stagnated — at least in the areas the association cares about: tobacco prevention-and-control spending, smokefree air, cigarette tax and cessation coverage. The report tested all 482 incorporated cities in the state for three areas — smokefree outdoor air, smokefree housing and reducing sales of tobacco products. While Palo Alto did score extra points this year for its efforts in the area of creating smokefree outdoor air, it didn't improve its score in that area, which was stuck at a C. To make matters worse, the C grade was dragged down by Fs in the other two categories. It scored zero points on things like providing nonsmoking living units and common areas and banning sales near schools and parks. We thought we were pretty special for our smoking bans in parks, but it turns out that 326 cities and counties already restrict smoking in recreation areas. But take heart, Palo Alto: Nearly two-thirds of all municipalities in California received an "F" grade. So, really, we're slightly above average!

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