This week, we wrote about San Francisco lawmakers and their compulsive need to intrude on residents' rights to be as unhealthy and wasteful as they want. Yet this prolific banning is starting to bear some benefits -- at least on paper.
Just today, the American Lung Association released its latest tobacco report, detailing which cities are improving and which ones are failing miserably at providing smoke-free communities. While many San Mateo County cities continue to show no improvement, San Francisco's score jumped from just average last year to a solid B.
The city has Supervisor Eric Mar to thank for that. While his fame soared with his draconian Happy Meal ban that made San Francisco look stupid instead of just silly, it turns out that not all of his ideas are half-baked.
Mar was the chief sponsor of antismoking legislation that now prohibits smokers from lighting up at ATMs, bars, restaurants, transit stops, parks, and even taxi cabs. The legislation wasn't easy to pass, as Mar faced irked business and bar owners who claimed they would lose revenue if they were forced to ask their patrons to stand on the curb to light up.
Serena Chen, spokeswoman for the American Lung Association, points at Mar's legislation and says it is the sole reason for San Francisco's elevation from average to good.
"It's not easy to regulate people," Chen said. "They worked very hard."
Yet the report shows that San Francisco has room to create more antismoking measures. The city scored a below-average D when it comes to creating house-free smoking citywide.
And that makes sense, considering smokers have nowhere else to go.
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