SACRAMENTO - The number of adult smokers in California has hit a record low, the California Department of Public Health announced last week.Last year, 11.9 percent of the state's adult population smoked, down from 13.1 percent in 2009. California was one of only two states to reach a nationwide goal of reducing the adult smoking prevalence rate to 12 percent. "The drop in smoking means that fewer people will see their lives cut short by tobacco," said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the Department of Public Health. "Since the inception of California's tobacco education efforts in 1990, we have witnessed declines in lung cancer, heart disease and other tobacco-related illnesses." Chapman praised the state's success in reducing tobacco use, but said California must continue its aggressive efforts. "While we take great pride in seeing smoking decrease nearly 10 percent in just one year, smoking remains the number one preventable cause of death and disease, killing more than 400,000 Americans each year," he said. Smoking among high school students decreased from 14.6 percent in 2008 to 13.8 percent in 2010, while middle school student smoking decreased from 6 percent in 2008 to 4.8 percent in 2010. Although men continue to smoke at higher rates than women - 14.4 percent and 9.4 percent respectively - both groups have shown declines since 2009 when 15.6 percent of men and 10.7 percent of women smoked. Smoking rates declined among all age groups. The most significant decrease occurred among adults ages 25 to 44, which fell from 15.2 percent in 2009 to 13.1 percent in 2010.
********** Published: July 28, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 15