The number of California smokers has continued to decrease more than the national average, according to data presented by the state health officials. However there are evident discordances in gender, education, income and ethnicity.
Californians continue to smoke less than people in the rest of the country, with 13.1% of people stating that they smoked last year in comparison with 21% of people nationwide. “We have saved a lot of money that have been averted. But these figures also show us that we shouldn’t stop on this and continue to take steps in this direction,” Kimberly Belshé, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services stated at the conference.
The smoking rate is expected to drop to 12.6% this year, already closer to the national goal of 12%. Currently only Utah presented lower rates of smokers. The falling trend in California is moving quicker than the nation’s, which has shown an insignificant decline in the smoking rate, down to 21% from 26% in 1990.
As regards rates within the state, they vary and sometimes widely. A lot of rural countries demonstrated rates of 17% or higher, northern and eastern parts of the state haven’t any decrease in smoking rate since 1990. Men still continue to smoke more frequently and at higher rates than women, 14.9% compared to 8.4%. Also it was found out that college graduates smoked less than those without degrees, approximately 6%. Among those who earned $150,000 per month smoked only 8%, but those living in households with an income of less than $20,000, constituted 20%.
Approximately 12.7% of whites smoked compared to 14.2% of African Americans, 10.2% of Latinos and 8.1% of Asians. “There are inadmissible discordances across racial groups in the prevalence of smoking. We believe that we can focus at those discordances as we realized to move forward,” stated Dr. Mark Horton, the state’s public health director.
Two of the four state-sponsored advertisements showed Debi Austin, a former smoker who was smoking through a laryngectomy hole in her throat. Austin said that she hopes that when people will see her in such a state they would think twice before lighting up, especially youngsters. Besides those advertisements which will be diffused next month, government officials want to release advertisements in various languages as Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese.
Those advertisements will also demonstrate the effects of smoking on environment. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and constitute about 34% of all litter collected statewide. “We want to ask smokers to get rid of their practice to throw away their butts out the window and onto the ground. It is very harmful for smokers and for the environment,” Horton stated.
Horton expressed his hope Californians will quit this dangerous habit in the New Year.
By Kate Rayno