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Petaluma's secondhand smoke rules lauded; mixed grades for rest of county

  • A woman, who did not wish to be identified, smokes a cigarette outside the Rosenberg Bulding on Fourth Street and Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa. (The Press Democrat)

Petaluma’s ban on smoking in apartments and other multi-unit housing won recognition in the American Lung Association’s latest statewide report on efforts to restrict secondhand smoke.

Bumped up to a B grade from last year’s D for overall tobacco control, Petaluma was the lone North Bay community on the association’s list of 40 cities and counties “on the rise” for passing new smoking regulations.

Petaluma joined Rohnert Park, Sebastopol and Sonoma County on the B list; the county’s other six cities were given Ds or Fs. All but Petaluma retained the same grade given last year.

“I’m happy we did that,” Mayor David Glass said, referring to the Petaluma council’s approval last January of a smoking ban that covered all private housing with at least one shared wall — apartments, duplexes and condos.

“We were at the bottom of the deck,” he said, referring to Petaluma’s grade in 2013.

The Lung Association graded all 58 California counties and 482 cities in three key areas: smoke-free outdoor air, smoke-free multi-unit housing and reducing tobacco sales.

Santa Rosa, Windsor and Healdsburg got Ds; Cloverdale, Cotati and Sonoma received Fs.

Mendocino County and the cities of Ukiah and Fort Bragg received Cs, Willits a D and Point Arena an F.

Lake County and the cities of Clearlake and Lakeport received Fs, with no points for smoke-free housing anywhere.

Just 18 of the state’s 540 cities and counties received an A grade for overall tobacco control, and 330 — 61 percent of all communities — got an F.

Protecting people who live in multi-unit structures from second-hand smoke is now a critical part of the 50-year-old campaign triggered by the U.S. Surgeon General’s 1964 report that linked smoking to lung cancer, said Pam Granger, North Coast advocacy manager for the American Lung Association in California.

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