California has led the nation in reducing smoking.1

California has been a national leader in efforts to reduce smoking. As a major contributor to a range of chronic diseases, reducing smoking is a priority for living well. Smoking rates vary considerably by gender, race/ethnicity, income, and geography. By reducing these disparities and striving to achieve the 2022 target to bring the state’s overall smoking rate to 9 percent, California can continue to be a leader in efforts to lower smoking rates.1

Indicator Progress

In 2012 (baseline year), 12.7% of adults are current smokers. The most recent data available show 10.1% (2017). We hope to reach a target of 9.0% or lower by 2022

Read More |

More Data

Adult Tobacco Use

Note: The baseline has changed from the original LGHC 2012 Task Force Report due to changes in survey methodology of the data source in 2012.

Baseline

12.7%

Current Rate

10.1%

Target

9.0%

Indicator Highlights

Smoking rates declined from 23.7 percent in 1988, to 11.6 percent in 2014, reflecting a 51 percent decline since the California Tobacco Control Program began.2
The California Tobacco Control Program’s smoke free policies, media campaign and smoking cessation services have been credited with saving 1 million lives and $134 billion dollars in health care costs.2

Disparities & Trends

African Americans smoke more than other race/ethnic groups, with few differences between men and women.2
Gender differences in smoking rates are substantial within the Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic populations in California.2
In California, smoking rates decrease with higher levels of income. With the highest rates observed for the poorest individuals. Smoking also declines with greater levels of education.2
Trends in California’s adult tobacco use rates have stalled in the last few years. A loss in momentum means that tobacco use rate may increase in the future which could have serious implications for reversing the substantial progress made in California to reduce tobacco related diseases and the associated health care cost savings that accrued as a result of the decline in smoking.2
The overall use of electronic cigarettes by adults nearly doubled in one year and nearly quadrupled for young adults between ages of 18-24.2
The California Smokers’ Helpline is a free statewide telephone based tobacco cessation program. Clinical trials consistently demonstrate that Helpline counseling approximately doubles the odds of successful long term quitting.2

Proportion of Adults Who are Current Smokers, Over Time

Download the Data Visualization Help

Proportion of Adults Who are Current Smokers, by Demographic Category

Download the Data Visualization Help

|

Indicator: Proportion of adults who are current smokers

Description:  Adult smoking prevalence in California, males and females aged 18+, starting in 1984. Caution must be used when comparing the percentages of smokers over time as the definition of ‘current smoker’ was broadened in 1996, and the survey methods were changed in 2012. Current cigarette smoking is defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in lifetime and now smoking every day or some days. Prior to 1996, the definition of current cigarettes smoking was having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in lifetime and smoking now. Due to the methodology change in 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend not conducting analyses where estimates from 1984 – 2011 are compared with analyses using the new methodology, beginning in 2012. This includes analyses examining trends and changes over time. (For more information, please see the narrative description.)

Data Limitations:  The California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is an on-going telephone survey of randomly selected adults, which collects information on a wide variety of health-related behaviors and preventive health practices related to the leading causes of death and disability such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and injuries. Data are collected monthly from a random sample of the California population aged 18 years and older. The survey has been conducted since 1984 by the California Department of Public Health in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2012, the survey methodology of the California BRFSS changed significantly so that the survey would be more representative of the general population. Several changes were implemented: 1) the survey became dual-frame, with both cell and landline random-digit dial components, 2) residents of college housing were eligible to complete the BRFS, and 3) raking or iterative proportional fitting was used to calculate the survey weights. Due to these changes, estimates from 1984 – 2011 are not comparable to estimates from 2012 and beyond. The CDC recommends not conducting analyses where estimates from 1984 – 2011 are compared with analyses using the new methodology, beginning in 2012. This includes analyses examining trends and changes over time. Current cigarette smoking was defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in lifetime and now smoking every day or some days. Prior to 1996, the definition of current cigarettes smoking was having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in lifetime and smoking now.

Indicator Source:  California Tobacco Control Program, CA BRFSS tobacco track questionnaire

Indicator Calculation Methodology: http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/data_documentation/index.htm

Data Collection Methodology: http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/data_documentation/index.htm

Program URL Link: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/tobacco/Pages/default.aspx

Reporting Cycle: Annually

Reporting Lag: one year

Indicator Source Changes:  New methodology started in 2012

1. Let’s Get Health California Task Force. (2012). Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force Final Report. Let’s Get Healthy CA Task Force. http://www.chhs.ca.gov/pages/LGHCTF.aspx

2. California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program, California Tobacco Facts and Figures 2016, Sacramento, CA, 2016

Share Your Story

Want to engage in moving the dial on the Living Well goal? Share your impact story!

Submit Your Story