The grades are in. The American Lung Association released its state tobacco control report Wednesday. It's a yearly report that grades the federal government and all 50 states on key tobacco control policies, however the grades for California and the central valley aren't so good.
Here in the central valley, two of the biggest cities in the region - Bakersfield and Fresno - both received an F grade, overall. The report is based on four key tobacco control areas including smoke-free air laws, the cigarette tax rate, tobacco prevention, and control funding.
The report is designed to increase public awareness about policies that protect residents from the deadly effects of tobacco. Johnny Medina with the American Lung Association says educating smokers, especially our children, will pay off greatly in the long run.
"The next generation of smokers are our children, and without proper education and without prevention and cessation programs available to our community, we're going to have a new generation of smokers," said Medina.
Medina says currently, California has more than 34 thousand children who are new smokers. He also says raising the tax on tobacco is extremely important and that the extra money will be used to help smokers kick the habit. Medina also points out that smoking is very expensive and takes five to seven times for the average adult to completely eliminate the addiction.
The city of Firebaugh received the top grade in the central valley, averaging a C.
If you would like to see the report, visit http://www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org/