For the seventh year in a row, Glendale earned an A grade from the American Lung Assn. when it comes to its anti-smoking laws, with neighboring Burbank receiving a B for the same length of time.
Since 2009, the agency rates 482 cities and 58 counties throughout California for its annual report card called "State of Tobacco Control." It measures multiple categories of tobacco-use and -control policies covering smoke-free outdoor laws, smoke-free housing and efforts to reduce the sale of tobacco products.
Of the 21 California cities and counties that received the highest mark, Glendale topped the population count at 201,688 and earned A's in two of the three categories, with a B in providing smoke-free housing.
Overall, Glendale is pursuing healthy initiatives, according to Elena Bolbolian, the city's deputy director of administration and neighborhood services. The Fresh Air program, a series of ongoing anti-smoking regulations established by the city, is one example.
"The city partnered with various different organizations to bounce our ideas off of, and they provided some of their recommendations," said John Brownell, Glendale's code compliance manager. "In conjunction with that, we looked at what other cities were doing and trying to bring the best [smoking-prevention] ordinances other cities had."
Few California cities and counties earned an A, and the city of Burbank's consistent B grade is at least higher than the C that Los Angeles received.
Burbank excelled again in limiting the sale of tobacco products and providing smoke-free outdoor air but fell short in controlling secondhand smoke exposure in its apartments and condominiums.
"We're happy to have a B,' said Burbank city spokesperson Drew Sugars." Many cities don't even get that high, but it also shows that there's room for improvement."
Overall, 12 fewer California communities received F grades when compared to 2016, and for the first time since the agency started conducting the report, more than 20 cities and counties earned an overall A grade.
"For cities like Burbank that are close [to an A], there might be these misconceptions that some of these smoking policies are really restrictive of its citizens and somehow they'll violate personal rights," said John Yi, advocacy director at the American Lung Assn. "A city like Glendale with a large population, you see these policies have only helped people to breathe easier and isn't damaging the local economy or violating people's rights."
Jeff Landa, email@example.com