San Francisco's Anti-Smoking Laws Are Working, Study Confirms

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The American Lung Association's annual tobacco report was released today, showing that, once again, San Francisco is leading the way in fostering a smoke-free city.

Serena Chen, regional advocacy director for the American Lung Association, says that out of the 10 most populous cities in the state, Oakland and San Francisco are the only cities with a "B" ranking. The remaining cities held "C's" "D's" or "F's". Graded on its efforts in reducing tobacco sales and promoting smoke-free environments, the report suggests that the new smoke-free outdoor spaces and housing laws passed this year have helped to make the city healthier.

Chen says that the new landlord disclosure law has also helped boost San Francisco's rankings. Landlords are now required to brief new tenants on the smoking preferences of the building. When disclosing the rules of the apartment, landlords found that most renters wanted to live in non-smoking buildings.

San Francisco is not new to the fight for a smoke-free nation. It was one of the first cities in the country to outlaw smoking in the workplace, and in 2013, San Francisco banned smoking at all public events. "They're very conscious about how smoking affects the community. They've done some pretty groundbreaking things," Chen says.

San Francisco's achievements in promoting smoke-free spaces is ahead of the curve, as only nine out of 88 cities in the Bay Area hold an "A" ranking, including Berkeley, Richmond and Albany. The efforts of other cities to reduce smoking gives Chen hope that San Francisco will emulate its neighbors. This year, Berkeley mandated a smoke-free housing ordinance that prohibits smoking in all attached buildings.

Chen believes that implementing a smoke-free law in outdoor eating and drinking spaces could help San Francisco score higher next year. "Smoke-free laws do pay-off for all of the benefits," Chen says.

Today's report coincides with the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1964 Surgeon General's statement that linked smoking with lung cancer and heart disease.

Read the full report:

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