Orange County Has Lowest Adult Smoking Rate in U.S., CDC Study Finds
Orange County has the lowest adult smoking rate in the country, with only 13% of its residents reporting they smoke, according to a new CDC study released today, the Los Angeles Times reports. The national average for smoking was 23% (Morin/Tran, Los Angeles Times, 12/14). Published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the study used data from the annual CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to examine smoking behavior in 99 metropolitan statistical areas from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Researchers conducted phone calls with randomly selected respondents ages 18 and older, asking, "Have you smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your entire life?" and "Do you now smoke cigarettes every day, some days or not at all?" Those who responded they smoked everyday were asked, "During the past 12 months, have you quit smoking for a day or longer?" Results were then weighted for each city based on age, sex and race/ethnicity. Researchers found that along with Orange County, Salt Lake City-Ogden, Utah; San Diego; Miami, Fla.; Bergen-Passaic, N.J.; and Las Cruces, N.M., had the lowest prevalence of smoking in the nation. Toledo, Ohio; Knoxville, Tenn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria, Ohio; and Huntington-Ashland, W.Va., had the highest rates (MMWR, 12/14). According to the study, 15% of San Diego residents, 18% of Los Angeles residents and 21% of those in the Inland Empire smoke.
Researchers said the region's low prevalence of smoking "makes sense" because of California's "long tradition of tobacco control programs, higher cigarette taxes, anti-smoking commercials and strict no-smoking laws for restaurants, bars and other public places" (Los Angeles Times, 12/14). Orange County Health Care Agency Deputy Director Dr. Mark Horton said, "Visitors notice the lack of cigarette smoke the moment they land in a California airport or eat at a California restaurant." Horton credited programs such as the Tobacco Use Prevention Program, which combines education, prevention and cessation campaigns, for the success of the county's anti-smoking effort (Liddane/Saar, Orange County Register, 12/14). The study is available at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/research_data/adults_prev/mm5049.pdf. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the study.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.