American Lung Association gives Long Beach ‘C’ rating for tobacco policies

The report has graded cities for 18 years, claims larger cities fail to earn better rating.

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Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels

The American Lung Association released its 2020 State of Tobacco Control report on Wednesday, Jan. 26 in which it graded California cities on their ability to curb tobacco use in the community.

Long Beach, one of the 10 largest cities in the report, scored a “C” grade.

“Unfortunately, for years, California’s top 10 most populous cities have done little to improve their grades and none have earned an overall grade of an ‘A,'” the association stated in the report. “Elected officials in California’s most populated areas must do more to ensure their residents are protected from the harmful effects of tobacco.”

For 18 years, the association has graded cities on their ability to reduce the negative effects of tobacco in communities, specifically in categories such as smoke-free housing, dining areas, recreational parks and to tobacco sales in citywide.

Long Beach collected 10 points in the Smoke-free Outdoor category of the report, which outscored most of the cities in the category including Lynwood, Norwalk and Pico Rivera. However, the coastal town was out scored by Malibu, Pasadena, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach.

“Despite widespread local-level policy change, a startling 47% of Californians remain unprotected as tobacco remains the nations leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated 480,000 lives each year,” the association wrote in the report. “It is essential that California continues to push for protection of all residents.”

Aside from the risks of tobacco use, Long Beach residents have also experienced respiratory-health issues due to the amount of emissions released from vehicles on the nearby freeways and the Port of Long Beach–– the nation’s second most busiest port.

As previously reported in the Signal Tribune, community members in the west side of Long Beach have expressed health concerns linked to air quality and pollution in the past. According to Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization’s “West Long Beach Health Survey,” 38.4% of responses identified air quality as a major health concern.