Who Smokes in California?
Over the last 22 years, the California adult smoking prevalence has been reduced by 50 percent, from 23.7 percent in 1988 to 11.9 percent in 2010.
Men still smoke more than women, 15.6 percent and 10.7 percent respectively. The young adult population (18 – 24 years old) is continuing to smoke less, 13.1 percent in 2010, down from 15.2 percent in 2009.
View the latest report: California Tobacco Facts & Figures 2018
Youth and Smoking
Smoking and smokeless tobacco use most often begins during adolescence. The 31st report from the U.S. Surgeon General, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults finds:
- More than 600,000 middle school students smoke cigarettes
- More than 3 million high school students smoke cigarettes
- Nearly a million and a half kids under age 18 will try their first cigarette this year
- Smoking kills more than 1,200 Americans every day. And every tobacco-related death is replaced by two new smokers under the age of 25
- The younger kids are when they try tobacco, the more likely they are to get addicted
- 3 out of 4 teens who smoke will continue smoking into adulthood – even if they intend to quit in a few years
- More than a million dollars an hour is spent to market tobacco products in this country
Youth and E-cigarettes
The U.S. Surgeon General published a report on the new alarming rate of e-cigarette use among youth and young adults, E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults This report finds:
- Among young adults 18-24 years of age, e-cigarette use more than doubled from 2013 to 2014. As of 2014, more than one-third of young adults had tried e-cigarettes.
- In 2015, more than 3 million youth in middle and high school, including about 1 of every 6 high school students, used e-cigarettes in the past month. More than a quarter of youth in middle and high school have tried e-cigarettes.
- Research has found that youth who use a tobacco product, such as e-cigarettes, are more likely to go on to use other tobacco products like cigarettes.
- The brain is the last organ in the human body to develop fully. Brain development continues until the early to mid-20s. Nicotine exposure during periods of significant brain development, such as adolescence, can disrupt the growth of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction.
- Aerosol created by e-cigarettes can contain ingredients that are harmful and potentially harmful to the public’s health, including: nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.
- E-cigarettes are available in a wide variety of flavors, including many that are especially appealing to youth. More than 85% of e-cigarette users ages 12-17 use flavored e-cigarettes, and flavors are the
leading reason for youth use.
- More than 9 of 10 young adult e-cigarette users said they use e-cigarettes flavored to taste like menthol, alcohol, fruit, chocolate, or other sweets
- There is a strong association between the use of e-cigarettes, cigarettes, and the use of other burned tobacco products by young people. In 2015, for example, nearly 6 of 10 high school cigarette smokers also used e-cigarettes.
Tobacco Use and Behavioral Health
People with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than the general population, often due to preventable diseases including those caused by smoking, according to Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness, 2006.
Visit Health Impacts to learn about the health impact of tobacco, secondhand smoke and third-hand smoke. The U.S. Surgeon also published, The Health Consequences of Smoking—-50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014, to learn more.
Alternative Tobacco Products
Visit Alternative Tobacco Products to find information on other tobacco products like hookah, e-cigarettes, dissolvable and smokeless tobacco.
Visit Environmental Impact to learn about the environmental impact of cigarette butt waste.