Mill Valley Jumps from an 'F' to a 'B’ for Its Anti-Smoking Policies

American Lung Association doles out its annual grades for policies that reduce smoking in public spaces, regulate sales of tobacco products and regulate smoking in multi-unit housing. Mill Valley ends a 3-year stretch of Fs.

As far as the American Lung Association is concerned, the city of Mill Valley can take off its collective dunce cap.

After receiving an F for its anti-smoking policies for three years in a row in the association's annual State of Tobacco Control Report, Mill Valley jumped to a B in 2012.

The improved grade reflected the Mill Valley City Council's unanimous decision to tighten existing anti-smoking restrictions and adding some new ones. Enacted in September 2012, the new regulations include:

The city's new anti-smoking regulations include:

  • A ban on smoking in any place where food and/or drink offered for sale, including outdoor areas of restaurants and bars;
  • A ban on smoking at a minimum of 20 feet from any entrance, opening or exit of any enclosed area, including windows;
  • A ban on smoking within any park located in the City of Mill Valley on City property;
  • Prohibition on smoking within a minimum of 20 feet of: Service lines (ATMs, ticket lines, bus stops, transit shelters, and cab stands; Working road, building and construction crews; Recreational areas (playgrounds, sporting facilities, children's play areas, and rinks);
  • A ban on smoking at all public events including but not limited to, sports events, entertainment, speaking performances, ceremonies, pageants, parades, fairs and farmer's markets;
  • Prohibition on smoking in any vehicles, buses, taxicabs, and other means of public transit under the authority of the City of Mill Valley;
  • A ban on the disposal of smoking waste or tobacco product waste within the boundaries of an area in which smoking is prohibited;
  • A permanent designation of a minimum of 80 percent of guest rooms in every hotel and motel and bed-and-breakfast facilities as completely nonsmoking;
  • A tobacco retailer's license provision that will require retail licensing for tobacco sales, and gives cities leverage to penalize vendors who continue to illegally sell tobacco products to minors. City officials said there are 10 businesses in Mill Valley that sell tobacco products.

Those changes brings local laws in line with that of most other municipalities in Marin.

The annual report, which was released Wednesday, issues grades for all cities and counties in California on local tobacco control policies including those for smokefree outdoor environments, smokefree housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products.

Overall, the association said the state of California "falls short in adequately funding tobacco prevention programs to protect children and curb tobacco-caused disease." California earned an A grade for its smokefree air policies but received a D for its low cigarette tax, an F for failing to adequately fund tobacco prevention and control programs, and another F for poor coverage of smoking cessation and treatment services.

“Cities and counties in California have always led the way with strong tobacco control policies, and that continues to this day,” said Fred Lurmann, Chair of the Leadership Board of the American Lung Association in California – Greater Bay Area. “Safeguarding our communities from the negative consequences of tobacco is critical. The low grades represent real health consequences.”

The association also criticized the state for not increasing its cigarette tax since 1999 and spending only 15 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to adequately fund tobacco prevention programs and services to help people quit smoking.

There are about 3 million new youth smokers in the U.S. and 34,400 in California every year. About 37,000 deaths are caused by tobacco use, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

“We need to do more to fight the influence of tobacco interests in California politics,” said Marsha Ramos, the chairwoman of the American Lung Association in California, in a statement. “Our state elected officials have an opportunity to change course in 2013 and make big strides in the fight to end tobacco-caused death and disease. It’s going to take a great deal of political will, but we are confident our elected officials are up to the challenge. Our children’s health is depending on them.”

Marin County State of Tobacco Control 2013 Overall Grade Smokefree Outdoor Air Smokefree Housing Reducing Sales of Tobacco Prodcuts Corte Madera
Fairfax C B A F Larkspur B A A F Mill Valley
B A D A Novato B A A D San Anselmo
D C D F San Rafael

To view the complete California report, visit www.lung.org/california.

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Matt Bianco January 17, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Do the rules apply to smoking Js? Half the times I take a stroll near a park at night I can smell herbs. Now if I light up a Davidoff #2, or a Davidoff Robusto I would get hell from everyone. I am afraid to do so even in my backyard. Whoda thunk S Rafael can get an A in anything.


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