California’s adult smoking rate hit a record low last year, 11.9 percent, state health officials announced this week. While smoking prevalence has fallen across the board, the number masks big disparities among demographic groups.
The state’s analysis [PDF] shows smoking prevalence by sex, age, school grade and four ethnic groups – white, African American, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander. But the state’s own research in recent years has revealed wide variations in smoking rates among and within Asian ethnic groups; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations; and people on active military duty. The disparities underscore the challenges of combating tobacco use in different communities.