SLO County city’s failing grades for reducing child tobacco use

By KAREN VELIE

Most San Luis Obispo County cities earned failing grades for their tobacco control measures, including allowing the sale of flavored tobacco products, according to a report by the American Lung Association.

In recent years, local lawmakers have taken steps to control tobacco use, like mandating non-smoking outdoor areas. But the reports says SLO County and its seven cities could be doing more to reduce tobacco use, especially among young people.

SLO County and every city in the county, except Morro Bay, received an “F” in the selling flavored tobacco category. Despite passing a flavors restriction, Morro Bay received a “D” because the policy exempted menthol-flavored products.

“This report underscores a local need to protect our youth from fun-sounding tobacco flavors — like ‘bubble gum’ and ‘blue razz’,” said Tobacco Control Coalition Chair Julia Alber. “Adding flavors masks the natural harshness, making it easier to smoke and easier to become addicted.”

A California Healthy Kids Survey shows 35% of SLO County’s 11th graders have
tried vaping.

SLO County’s overall grades:

Morro Bay — B

Unincorporated SLO County — C

San Luis Obispo — C

Atascadero — D

Arroyo Grande — D

Grover Beach — D

Paso Robles — D

Pismo Beach — D

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