Alameda Gets a 'B' in Annual Tobaco Report

The city got top scores in two areas, smokefree outdoor air and smokefree housing.

Photo courtesy of San Mateo County
Photo courtesy of San Mateo County
The American Lung Association gave Alameda a "B" in its annual tobacco report on cities and counties released on Wednesday.

The report gave the city an "A" in two key areas — smokefree outdoor air and smokefree housing — but only a "D" for municipal efforts to reduce the sale of tobacco products. The city's overall grade is a combination of its scores in those three areas.

The grades are identical to Alameda's performance in the association's 2013 report.

In November, 2011 Alameda enacted a comprehensive secondhand smoke ordinance that prohibits smoking in places of employment, outdoor public places, and mulit-unit housing.

In Alameda County, Albany, Berkeley, Dublin and Union City all received overall "A" grades this year. Piedmont, which doesn't have any official regulations on tobacco use, was the only city in Alameda County to receive an "F" overall and in all three categories.

The report states the battle to reduce tobacco use in most states, including California, has "all but stalled."

In this year's report, the number of California cities receiving an "A" rose while the number getting an "F" declined.

However, more than 60 percent of California's municipalities still received "F" grades.

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Kathy January 24, 2014 at 10:18 AM
I see smokers in front of the Alameda theater all the time. Its hard to enjoy the outside dining when everyone is lighting up. If this city has truly banned smoking, then quit selling them and put No Smoking signs up.
djs January 24, 2014 at 11:20 AM
HAHA No enforcement. The cops are blind when it comes to crowds smoking outside the bars and in the parks and shopping areas.
Jon Spangler January 25, 2014 at 02:19 AM
Why is the City of Alameda refusing to seriously implement the Secondhand Smoking ordinance? Public education--starting with signage--is 99% absent, missing (in)action... It would probably take 60-100 signs around the Park Street commercial district to adequately inform the public--especially visitors to Alameda--that our Secondhand Smoking ordinance exists, and the signs would have to be larger and more prominently posted. But it appears that the City of Alameda is doing everything it can to NOT implement the ordinance--at least in the Park Street business district. (Of course, there are ZERO signs at Bridgeside, Marina Village, South Shore, or other established shopping centers around Alameda: they have been getting a free pass from the City of Alameda.) The City of Alameda installed only 12 tiny (12 x 18 inch) signs on Park Street in mid-2013--18 months after the ordinance took effect. The signs are posted only along Park Street and none are posted at the borders or entry points of the commercial district. Alameda paid $1,895.92 for the 12 signs on Park Street--not exactly a significant investment in public health and safety, even if you add in the cost of city staff time for installation. Yet the city bought 30 signs for the smaller Webster Street business district. Why doesn't Park Street have proper signage and clean air? Is PSBA against clean air? (All the indications point to serious resistance to adequate implementation on the part of PSBA.) What is wrong with actually implementing the ordinance along Park Street, I wonder? Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen has repeatedly said to me and to the public that the city is "doing the best that it can" to implement the ordinance--and then tells me I should go talk to Robb Ratto, the Executive Director of PSBA. (Why? Is Robb Ratto in charge of law enforcement on Park Street? The last time I looked, public signage and public health were city responsibilities. Of course, PSBA's silence on the issue and their failure to say or do anything at all to help publicize or implement this ordinance is deafening.) Based on the behavioral evidence I see, the City of Alameda's Secondhand Smoking ordinance is a failure: I see people smoking literally every day that I am on Park Street, and often see them smoking within a few feet of the mostly-invisible signs now inadequately placed along Park Street. Of course, failure is pretty much guaranteed if there is zero effort on the part of the City of Alameda and active resistance by PSBA leadership. I think the American Lung Association was being for more generous than the city--especially re: Park Street--deserves.
Michael January 25, 2014 at 11:54 AM
The law was passed to pad political resumes, not better public health. I have witnessed hundreds of smokers on Park Street, Webster Street and other shopping areas and never once seen a ticket written or a cop even talk to someone smoking. Maybe other cities do something, but not here. Alameda deserves an "F" for faking it.
Carol Parker January 25, 2014 at 09:37 PM
South Shore seems to be actually encouraging smoking by having cement ashtrays scattered throughout the center. Even at that there are cigarette butts on the ground. Today we were there and many of the benches were taken by people smoking. People walk all over the center, cigarettes in hand, with their nasty smoke trailing them. It is so pleasant at the center, the weather is lovely and then bam - you walk right into some smoker's plume of smoke. It really is infuriating. All of South Shore Center should be a NO SMOKING zone and it should be enforced. When I have questioned people smoking there before I get weird looks and they point to the ashtrays and say it is allowed there. Well is it allowed or not? And if it is not why doesn't the center have signage and enforce a smoking ban so customers can enjoy the center. More than once we've had to move when eating outdoors in the center because of smokers. There is a particular problem now not just on the outside of the center (such as the men who smoke outside of Starbucks all together at a big table constantly and who have moved their smoking group closer to Old Navy) but also in the interior of the center. Can you imagine eating outdoors at the new Italian restaurant and having someone walk by your table blowing smoke at you while you eat? What about people wanting to enjoy a meal outdoors at Panera or outside of Five Guys? I've met the manager of South Shore Center. He's a very nice man - smart and savvy. It's just incredible that they would allow smoking to reduce the value of their lovely new property and run off people who don't care to be subject to second hand smoke while trying to enjoy a stroll around the center. Park Street also has smokers - but honestly I am seeing more and more of them now at South Shore.
djs January 26, 2014 at 10:43 AM
I have tried to discuss it with the management of the center in the past and they completely blew me off. Perhaps we should have a humorous demonstration sometime, I envision a crowd of people dancing with masks on, and get some press coverage to embarrass them. When is national smoke out day?
pricklypair January 26, 2014 at 05:10 PM
Not heavilly affected by secondhand smoke but I have been assaulted often in Alameda with overly applied "eau de cheap".
djs February 20, 2014 at 01:51 PM
I'd say the eau de cheap/smoke ratio is about 1/6. Funny, real perfume doesn't bother me, only cheap chemical stuff. Again, owner/merchants... will not support your business if I catch you smoking on Park. NO DOGGY FOR ME!


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