TOBACCO: L.A., San Fernando Tops in County in Cracking down on Ads Aimed at Kids
San Fernando and Los Angeles have proven the most effective cities in Los Angeles County at "protecting children from cigarette advertising," according to a newly released scorecard from a tobacco control group. The Los Angeles Regional Control Community Linkage Project, or L.A. Link, is funded by state tobacco taxes, and includes "members from health care, education, government and community groups." L.A. Link Executive Director Pat Etem said, "The tobacco industry has really saturated ethnic neighborhoods with outdoor advertisements. And the cities that by and large have had the most progressive laws are the ones with large populations of Latinos and African Americans." The Los Angeles Times reports that in San Fernando, a group called Pueblo y Salud "has fought vigilantly to restrict billboards and storefront signs with tobacco and alcohol ads near schools, churches, playgrounds and parks," and the City Council has passed ordinances requiring a city license to sell cigarettes, which must remain behind the counter. Mayor Jose Hernandez (D) said that with half the city's population under 18, "These young people are targets of the liquor and tobacco industry, so we have to protect them." A spokesperson for the billboard company Outdoor Systems said the move to ban tobacco advertising was "largely political, illustrated by the fact that cities are still restricting tobacco billboards even though they are banned across the country" by the national tobacco settlement (Mozingo, 6/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.