Report: Smoking Rate in California Still Lower Than National Averages
The percentage of California adults who smoke remains well below national averages, according to a report released recently by the state Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Times reports (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 12/21/10).
The report is based on data from a 2008 telephone survey of 22,225 households and extended interviews with 10,397 adults (Seipel, San Jose Mercury News, 12/20/10).
According to the report, about 13.1% of adult Californians are smokers, compared with about 21% of adults nationwide. California's smoking rate is expected to decline to 12.6% this year, approaching the national goal of 12% by 2020.
As of last year, California had seen a 38% decline in smokers since 1990, when the state established the California Tobacco Control Program under Proposition 99. According to the report, 60% of California smokers attempted to quit during the previous year, including 76% of smokers ages 18 through 24 (Los Angeles Times, 12/21/10).
The report also found that lung cancer rates have declined more than three times faster in California compared with the rest of the U.S. (Hickey, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 12/21/10).
However, the report noted that there are several disparities in California's smoking rates. As of 2008, the report found that:
- Rural regions had a smoking rate of about 15.9%, compared with 10.9% in suburban and urban areas (Lin, California Watch, 12/21/10);
- Tehama County had the highest smoking rate in California at 22.8%, while Marin County had the lowest rate at 7.3% (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 12/21/10);
- Households with annual incomes exceeding $150,000 had a 7.8% smoking rate, compared with a 19.8% rate among those with annual incomes less than $20,000 (San Jose Mercury News, 12/20/10); and
- About 12.7% of white Californians smoke, compared with 14.2% of African Americans, 10.2% ofÂ Hispanics and 8.1% of Asians (Los Angeles Times, 12/21/10).
State Launches New Ad Campaign
In related news, state health officials have announced a new advertising campaign designed to encourage California residents to quit smoking. One of the ads will highlight how discarded cigarette butts contribute to environmental degradation (Sacramento Bee, 12/21/10).
The ads will begin airing on Jan. 10 (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 12/21/2010). In spring 2011, state officials plan to release new anti-tobacco ads in Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese (Los Angeles Times, 12/21/10).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.