Burbank maintained a “B” on the American Lung Assn.’s annual report card grading California cities and counties on their anti-smoking laws — one of 33 cities and counties to receive that score.
According to the agency, Burbank fared better than hundreds of cities and counties, including the 330 that received an “F,” in overall tobacco control on this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report.
Even so, officials would’ve liked to have scored higher, having made “bold” strides in creating — and enforcing — anti-smoking rules, said Community Development Director Joy Forbes.
“I’m disappointed with a ‘B’ because I do think the city of Burbank does a lot, while respecting the rights of smokers, to separate them from those who don’t want to be exposed to second-hand smoke,” Forbes said.
Burbank received a “B” in the categories of “smoke-free outdoor air” and “reducing sales of tobacco products,” though the city scored lower in the “smoke-free housing” category, where it received a “C.”
Each city and county is given points based on the strictness of their laws, which are added together to determine their grades.
Currently, smoking is not allowed in the common areas of apartment buildings in Burbank, though the city doesn’t regulate smoking in individual units. If it did, enforcement would be difficult, Forbes said.
“When we write codes, we like to enforce them,” Forbes said. “We’d have to increase our inspectors significantly in order to follow up on no-smoking-inside-unit types of laws.”
Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy concurred.
“Will we ever get an A? I don’t know. I think that means rules and regulations that reach into someone’s unit,” Gabel-Luddy said. “I don’t see that in our community.”
Neighboring Glendale and Pasadena, which were both among the 18 cities that scored an “A” in tobacco control, have stricter smoking rules in apartment complexes.
Burbank made no changes to its smoking rules this year, though the City Council did request that officials draft stricter rules for businesses with designated outdoor smoking areas next to multi-family complexes.
The new regulations would require new businesses that are located adjacent to residential buildings to install ventilation systems and patio covers over their outdoor smoking areas to divert smoke from entering residential units.
A vote on a stricter ordinance is expected to come back this year.