WeHo Flunks American Lung Association’s Annual Tobacco Control Study

West Hollywood scored an “F” in the American Lung Association’s (ALA) annual “State of Tobacco Control” study for 2016.

The report grades all 50 states and the federal government on four tobacco control policies: tobacco control and prevention spending, smoke-free air, tobacco taxes and cessation coverage. Its California local report grades all 482 cities and 58 counties on policies for smoke-free outdoor air, smoke-free housing and taking steps to reduce sales of tobacco products.

“This year’s report shows that much still needs to be done to protect citizens from the deadly effects of tobacco use,” the ALA said in press release. “The Lung Association and its partners continue to call for immediate action by all levels of government to achieve three bold goals: reduce smoking rates currently at about 18% to less than 10% by 2024; protect all Americans from secondhand smoke by 2019, and ultimately eliminate the death and disease caused by tobacco use.

West Hollywood got credit for banning smoking in outdoor dining areas and service areas. But it got an overall grade of D in the “smoke-free outdoor air” category because of the lack of control of smoke in entryways, at public events, in recreation areas, on sidewalks and at outdoor areas at workplaces. By contrast Santa Monica got a score of 11, which contributed to its overall grade of A.  West Hollywood was acknowledged in the “emerging categories” section of the report for the city council’s decision last February to require those selling tobacco to obtain  city license.  Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, who introduced that proposal, said there was evidence it would reduce illegal sales to minors which would put the retailer’s license at risk.

West Hollywood got an F in the smoke-free housing category. That was based on a lack of regulations requiring non-smoking apartments, condominiums and common areas. Among other Westside cities, Santa Monica ranked high with a B.

WeHo also got an F in the tobacco retailer licensing category (while Santa Monica got an A), although it scored a bonus point for a recent ordinance restricting the location of tobacco retailers.

Among other nearby cities, Culver City got an overall B grade and Beverly Hills got a C. The City of Los Angeles also got a C.


7 Comments
  1. Good point and well articulated, Craig. Further, (unlike Santa Monica) or lack of controls on smoking in apartment buildings means I frequently have to close my windows up on warm nights when inconsiderate neighbors’ smoke wafts in from their patios or walkways. While I get that people should (within reason) be able to do what they want in their own apartments, just as with noise, smoke also travels beyond those boundaries into others’ homes–and lungs. I don’t operate my patio BBQ after certain hours so as to avoid its smoke intruding on my neighbor’s when they’re trying to sleep, just as I don’t operate a loud TV or radio after certain hours for the same reason: out of mutual respect and common courtesy for others.

    Beyond that, with WeHo’s proliferation of “smoke” shops, “tobacco” shops and “vape” shops catering to and profiting from (among other things) “medicinal” marijuana consumers, in its quest for tax revenue, our city also overlooks that most of those same purveyors sell METH pipes (by another name), further facilitating THAT plague–and all its attendant problems.

    I don’t wanna play nanny–especially when it comes to what people do in their own apartments and bodies, but I also think the city could do better by its non-smoking majority and OUR right to not be carelessly assaulted by others’ choice to smoke, without UNDULY infringing upon the civil liberties of smokers continuing to trash their OWN health: Their right to smoke does not extend to OUR living rooms, bedrooms, and lungs.

  2. Weho bars, clubs & restaurants ENCLOSE their outdoor areas. The Abbey & Chapel have retractable roofs. Once you’ve closed the roof, you’re no longer outside, yet they still allow smoking. If you look up and don’t see an unobstructed view of the sky, you’re not outside.

    If the person next to me is drinking, their alcohol is not going into my system.
    But a smoker effects the air of everyone around them. It’s the most rude and offensive activity because it infringes on everyone else. How is it I come home smelling like smoke when I am not a smoker and at an outdoor bar?
    Why do we let the 20% who smoke ruin the air for the other 80%?

    Smoking maps of each establishment should be made public on the city website and posted at the establishment. We need better laws and enforcement.

  3. As a former smoker, I stand with Bill Maher in his pronouncements that people should be allowed to smoke considering that it is legal. Why don’t the no smoking advocates ever complain about all of the pollution emitted from too many vehicles, crowding too many roadways? Where is the outrage about this matter? And why don’t these advocates ever advance the notion to do what they really want: ban tobacco in all its forms? Yes, step up to the plate and get a statewide proposition to make tobacco illegal. Better yet, get Congress to ban it. And if Congress passes such a bill, The Donald, I’m certain, would be happy to sign it.

  4. The fact that WeHo still allows smoking in outdoor patios at bars is outrageous. In most cases, the doors to the patio are wide open and smoke travels from the patio into the interior of the bar. If you’re a non-smoker, the patio is off limits because it is so disgusting. I remember years ago when smoking bans were first introduced. All of the bar and restaurant owners cried that it was going to kill their business. Guess what? It didn’t. Bars and restaurants continued to thrive and people who were smoked out of the establishments returned. Indeed, overall smoking rates declined. Get your act together WeHo.

  5. It isn’t “clear” what is better. West Hollywood is an entertainment town that welcomes many international guests that want to enjoy cigarettes in private or outdoor areas. It would conflict with West Hollywood’s brand of freedom and enjoyment to over regulate cigarettes. However, there should be promotion that smoking is bad for one’s health and especially kids. Licensing and prohibiting minors from smoking makes sense but more restrictions on smoking would hurt people’s freedom, tourism and nightlife.

  6. We should stop comparing ourselves to Santa Monica in all categories, not just this one. For this one, we can and should do better.

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