An annual report from the American Lung Association released Wednesday shows three cities in San Luis Obispo County are not doing enough to control tobacco use and secondhand smoke.
The State of California as a whole was found to have improved from last year, but Pismo Beach and Atascadero received an F rating and Morro Bay was given a D grade.
The State of Tobacco Control, which is an annual report that assesses cities nationwide and over 300 communities in California, presents grades based on performance in the areas of smoke-free outdoor air space, smoke-free housing, reducing sales of tobacco products, and other issues.
For Pismo Beach Mayor Ed Waage, the news is not new.
“I guess because we had an F before, I’m not surprised but definitely disappointed,” Waage said.
Waage said the F rating the city received last year motivated the city council to draft a new, expanded ban on tobacco use downtown. A final vote on the new law, which bans smoking nearly everywhere downtown and the beach, is expected at the next council meeting.
“We want to be the best we can be and earn an A rating,” Waage said.
Atascadero city leaders could not make time for an interview Wednesday but said the City has already been considering policies on smoking and tobacco use.
Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish said in a statement that the city council directed staff to present recommendations on a new policy, but those findings won’t be discussed until this Spring.
Morro Bay fared a bit better with a D rating, a grade that Dr. John Headding, the city’s mayor, is motivated to improve.
“I think the opportunities for improvement are the area of really addressing smoking issues for young people and looking how to curtail that. That’s taking off nationally like wildfire,” Headding said, referring to vaping. “Secondly, we have to take a look at the multi-unit entities in the city.”
Headding said he believes his community is already doing a lot to improve but will discuss the issue further at its next council meeting.
The prospect of raising the grade to an A will be challenging, given that 50 percent of the California communities graded received an F and only 7 percent, or 39 cities, received an A rating.
The full report can be viewed here.