SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California gets high marks for its efforts to protect people from second-hand smoke, but the state is doing poorly in other areas of tobacco control.
That's according to a report released today by the American Lung Association, which annually grades each state and the federal government on their tobacco control policies.
The report finds the state gets an A for its efforts to keep the air we all breathe smoke-free, but it gets F's in tobacco control spending and cessation programs and a D for its cigarette tax laws.
California is one of just a few states that haven't raised their cigarette taxes in at least 12 years.
"What we're really interested in i s the tobacco tax," said Vanessa Marvin, Advocacy Director for the American lung Association in California.
"California hasn't raised the tobacco tax since 1999. In the meantime, other states are continuing to raise their tax and California is now 33rd in the nation on our tobacco tax."
California levies an 87-cent tax on each pack of cigarette sold.
Marvin says tobacco costs California $18 billion dollars in lost productivity and health care costs each year and that 36,000 Californians die annually of Tobacco-related disease.
Anti-smoking groups in Bakersfield are demanding change this morning.
The outcry comes after the city received a failing grade from The American Lung Association in protecting people from tobacco.
They score cities in four categories: overall tobacco control, smoke free outdoor air, smoke free housing, and reduction of tobacco sales.
Bakersfield received an F in all four categories.