Downey has 10K smokers, report claims

LOS ANGELES - A new report that breaks down adult cigarette smoking rates by geographical area in Los Angeles County finds there are great disparities between cities and community when it comes to tobacco use.The report, titled "Cigarette Smoking in Los Angeles County: Local Data to Inform Tobacco Policy," was released Tuesday in an effort to "inform cities and communities and facilitate their efforts to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke." Quartz Hills (21.9%), Lancaster (21.7%) and West Hollywood (19.6%) had the highest smoking rates in the local area, the report showed. San Marino (5.3%) and Malibu (5.8%) ranked at the bottom of the list. Downey has an estimated 10,000 smokers, or 12.3% of the population, the report said. County health officials said they determined smoking prevalence using population counts, smoking status and demographic variables and "neighborhood characteristic" variables, taken from the 2000 census. "Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and many cancers. Over one million adults in the county continue to risk their lives by smoking, as well as endanger the lives of others with their second-hand smoke," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for Los Angeles County. "Understanding where smoking rates are highest in the county allows policy makers to develop support for and establish programs and policies in the fight against tobacco use." To date, 47 cities and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which governs the unincorporated areas of the county, have enacted one or more tobacco control policies. In a press release accompanying the report, the county urged local cities to adopt smoke-free policies or strengthen existing ones, such as restricting smoking in apartments and condos, and on balconies and patios; banning smoking in outdoor places, such as outdoor dining areas; requiring tobacco retailers to post health warnings; and adding fees to the sale of each pack of cigarettes. The full report can be viewed online at

********** Published: June 24, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 10