San Bernardino County scores mostly Fs in American Lung Association survey

(January 20, 2011)

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January 20, 2011


San Bernardino County got a report card that nobody would want to bring home.

In the American Lung Association's first ranking of California's 480 incorporated cities and towns and 58 counties, San Bernardino County received only one B.

In the overall category of tobacco control, the ALA gave just two D grades - Adelanto and Rancho Cucamonga - and 22 failing marks.

"As a San Bernardino County resident, I was really sad to see this," said Sam Soret, chairman of the Department of environmental health at the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University.

"There are some positive changes in this report. But when you look at the number of cities with failing marks (in San Bernardino County), that is a fairly heavy stone," he said.

The report card for California's top 10 cities, which make up 26 percent of the state's population was a little brighter, he said.

Oakland and San Francisco registered Bs, while Los Angeles, Long Beach and Sacramento got Cs.

San Diego, San Jose and Santa Ana got Ds while Fresno and Anaheim failed.

The score was divided into three sections: smoke-free outdoor air, smoke- free housing and reducing sales of tobacco products.

Riverside County fared better than San Bernardino County largely because Riverside County and many of its cities have taken action to reduce smoking sales by requiring tobacco dealer licensing.

The county requires licensing in unincorporated areas.

Many of its cities do the same in their jurisdictions.

Among the most populous cities in the state, six got As for reducing sales of tobacco products, including Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana.

So did 28 cities in Riverside County. The county also received an A for unincorporated areas.

The report in this category was straight Fs for San Bernardino County, except for Adelanto, which got a D.

Michele Jacknik, program manager for San Bernardino County's tobacco use reduction program, said she has heard many cities express concern that with the poor economy, now isn't the time for a new tax on business regarding a tobacco retailer licensing fee.

Not all cities who received an F were equal.

Redlands, for example, still came away with a failing overall grade, although the city has enacted laws prohibiting smoking in parks, the Redlands Bowl and during the downtown's Market Night.

San Bernardino County also received an F, and it too limits smoking at some locations.

Rancho Cucamonga, one of two D grade recipients, prohibits smoking on all city properties, including park trails and parking lots, said Fabian Villenas, a city management analyst.

This year, the city will begin a registry of establishments that provide smoke-free environments, he said.

Loma Linda, with the county's lone B, went beyond other cities to enact legislation that restricts smoking in the common areas of apartment complexes and shopping centers.