Heavy Smoking, Lung Cancer Rates Drop Significantly
The percentage of high-intensity smokers -- defined as individuals who smoke at least one pack of cigarettes per day -- in California dropped from 23.2% in 1965 to 2.6% in 2007, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Nationwide, the percentage of high-intensity smokers fell from 22.9% to 7.2% during the same time period. The study also found that California had a lung cancer rate of 77.1 per 100,000 people in 2007, 24% lower than the nationwide rate of 101.7 cases per 100,000 residents. The report credits the state's tobacco-control programs with helping to lower high-intensity smoking and lung cancer rates. However, John Peirce -- a UC-San Diego researcher and lead author of the study -- noted that because California's tobacco control efforts are funded through tobacco taxes and smoking is down, the programs now are receiving less money.
- "California's Quitting Smoking Faster Than the Rest of the U.S." (Khan, "Booster Shots," Los Angeles Times, 3/16).
- "Health: Heavy Smoking Plummets, Especially in California" (Fikes, North County Times, 3/15).
- "Heavy Smoking Is Fast Becoming History" (Neighmond, "Shots," NPR, 3/16).