Adult Smoking Rate in Calif. Reaches All-Time Low, State Data Show
The percentage of California adults who smoke has reached an all-time low, dropping below 12% last year, according to state data released Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee reports (Smith, Sacramento Bee, 7/14).
California's Department of Public Health compiled the data by analyzing information from about 43,000 adults and students.
The new smoking rate makes California the second state to meet a federal target to achieve a smoking rate below 12% by 2020. Utah was the first state to meet the goal (Averill, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/14).
According to DPH's data, 11.9% of California adults smoked last year, down from 13.1% of adults in 2009.
Adults ages 25 through 44 accounted for the greatest decline in smoking rates. Among that population, smoking rates dropped from 15.2% in 2009 to 13.1% last year.
The data found that state smoking rates declined for both men and women but that men still smoke at higher rates. About 14.4% of California men smoke, compared with 9.4% of California women (Sacramento Bee, 7/14).
The latest figures show a significant drop in smoking rates over the past decade. In 1985, the state's adult smoking rate was 27.7% (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/13).
Possible Contributing Factors
Ron Chapman, director of DPH, and other public health officials said the decline in smoking rates reflects the state's aggressive efforts to reduce tobacco use (Sacramento Bee, 7/14).
Colleen Stevens -- chief of DPH's Tobacco Control Branch -- said the state smoking rate has "reached a 50% decline from 1988, when the Tobacco Tax Initiative went into effect."
The initiative, alsoÂ known asÂ Proposition 99, imposed a 25-cent tax on cigarette packs (Lee, San Jose Mercury News, 7/13).
A portion of the funds collected by the taxÂ go toward the state's Tobacco Control Program, which organizes media campaigns, educational initiatives and enforcement actions aimed at reducing tobacco use (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/13).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.