Data Tracker

Who still smokes in California?

By Phillip Reese -

A man smokes at his home in Sacramento.
A man smokes at his home in Sacramento. Sacramento Bee file

The number of Californians who smoke has plummeted by roughly one million in the last decade, but smoking remains prevalent in many parts of the state, according to the latest figures from an annual UCLA health survey.

About 11 percent of the state's teens and adults smoked in 2014, down from 15 percent in 2003, according to the California Health Interview Survey. That translates to about 3.4 million current smokers.

The state has actively discouraged smoking for years. The California Department of Public Health aggressively pushed advertisements that highlight the adverse health effects. The state restricts where its residents can smoke, largely banning the practice in public enclosed spaces. An effort to raise the legal smoking age to 21 passed the State Senate this year before stalling in the Assembly.

So who is still smoking?

The answer, the survey found, is that smokers tend to be less affluent, and less less likely to have a college degree than non-smokers.

For instance, about 8 percent of Californians in households with incomes of $100,000 or more a year were smokers between 2011 and 2014, compared to 18 percent of residents in households earning $30,000 or less. About 7 percent of Californians with a bachelor's or graduate degree smoked during those years, compared to 19 percent of Californians with only a high school diploma.

In addition, inland, rural residents are generally more likely to smoke than their peers in urban areas along the coast.

These charts summarize the state of smoking in California.



Source: UCLA Health Interview Survey | Shown are California residents who answered "yes" to the following: "Do you now smoke cigarettes?" Note: Data pooled for 2011 to 2014 in last three graphics to lower sampling error.

Hat tip to Washington Post

for the idea.

Click here to see graphics if using the Bee's mobile app.