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L.A. County: Where the smokers are [Updated]

When it comes to smoking in Los Angeles County, a new public health report released Tuesday found deep disparities depending on education, affluence, race and gender.

Nearly a quarter of adults in Quartz Hill -- 21.9% -- are smokers, followed closely by its Antelope Valley neighbor, Lancaster, where 21.7% of adults smoke, according to the report.

The report, the first neighborhood-level analysis of smoking by county health officials, also found higher levels of smokers in West Hollywood, South Los Angeles and parts of the South Bay.

Males in L.A. County were almost twice as likely as females to smoke, 19% to 10%. The study's authors also found distinct racial disparities; 25% of blacks L.A. County are smokers, compared to 15% of whites, 12% of Latinos and 11% of Asian Pacific Islanders.

Affluent communities were more likely to have fewer smokers. Overall, residents who have college degrees and higher incomes were less likely to smoke.

Joining Quartz Hill and Lancaster with high rates of adult smoking were: West Hollywood, 19.6%; Lake Los Angeles, 19%; the South L.A. council district represented by Bernard Parks, 19%; Palmdale, 18.5%; Hermosa Beach, 17.4%; and Redondo Beach, 16%.

The cities with the lowest adult smoking rates: San Marino, 5.3%; Malibu, 5.8%; La Cañada Flintridge, 6.4%; Calabasas, 7.3%; Palos Verdes Estates, 7.4%; Agoura Hills, 7.7%; Westlake Village, 7.9%; and Walnut, 8.8%.

[Updated at 6:50 p.m.: Overall, about 14% of Los Angeles County residents are smokers -- well below the national rate. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20.6% of Americans smoke.

Nationwide, metropolitan areas with the highest rate of smokers are in the South, Appalachia, Montana and Wyoming, according to the CDC. Those with the lowest rates are in California, Florida, Utah and suburban Connecticut and Maryland. 

The Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County metro areas have among the lowest percentage of smokers in the nation. Health officials credit anti-smoking measures, including California’s ban on smoking in workplaces and restaurants that passed in 1995, among other efforts.]

Health officials urged local lawmakers to continue efforts to “create social norms that make smoking even less desirable.”

Such measures include restricting smoking in common areas in apartments and condos, such as in patios, balconies, hallways, laundry rooms and swimming pools, and banning smoking in outdoor dining areas, parks, farmer’s markets, bus stops and ATM lines.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II reporting from the L.A. County Hall of Administration

 
Comments () | Archives (24)

It's sad. If someone plays loud music, the police will come and tell them to stop because neighbors have a right to quiet. If someone releases cigarette smoke that wafts into neighbors' windows, however, it's too bad because supposedly no one has a right to clean air. The only real solution is segregated neighborhoods: smoking and non-smoking. That will put poorer people, new immigrants, and the uneducated together so they can smoke without bothering others. The dream of integrated neighborhoods seems threatened more by unhealthy behavior than anything else. Really, sad.

Why not pressure the tobacco companies to make less cigarettes available, drive up the price and make it less affordable for "lower income" a.k.a poor communities? Is it because the gov't makes a lot of money of cigarettes? This is as pointless as the war on drugs. Why don't we work on the education system in this country? Educated people so they wont smoke, apparently uneducated people smoke more. That's too much work...let's just ban cigarettes.

Funny to see what places have in common. Lancaster and West Hollywood have lots of smokers. But in the recent past, Lancaster was also "famous" for being the home of a video call "the Gay Agenda" that slammed the so called homosexual lifestyle. And what local town has a high gay population? West Hollywood. hmm...

Banning cigarettes will just drive the trade into the black market and give gangs a whole new source of income.

VERY surprised that Asians have the lowest rate of smoking, seems like just the opposite!

The numbers are sad, but they do continue to trend downwards for all demographics over time. Education works, though slowly. Sin tax hikes work, though slowly. And smokers just plain die off, though medical advances have even made that too slow a process for some.

Whoa, ban cigarettes? You just commented that the war on drugs is pointless, so why does a war on cigarettes makes sense? Globally, I think China smokes almost half of the world's cigarettes. Imagine tapping that market.

@Alfredo Diaz, what you're speaking about is infringing on another person's rights just because you feel that it's inappropriate or bad. Why not ban alcohol too? Also, ban unhealthy foods. Ridiculous. I'm all about health and courtesy but if it's by infringing on someone else's free choice then hell no! The government is already harassing the hell out of tobacco companies by putting significant taxes not to mention state taxes on the product. Without cigarettes, thousands upon thousands of people would be out of jobs worsening this crappy economy.

Alfredo...don't be ridiculous! First, as a smoker I can honestly say that I am addicted to nicotine! I have tried and continue to try to quick but, I have an addiction to them. It's silly for anyone to say..."Oh just quit." It is not easy to "just quit". There's more involved and unless you've been addicted to anything in this crazy world, then I suggest you keep your mouth shut.

Kind of pointless....

If someone wants to risk their health, as long as it is only their own they are risking, they should be allowed to do so in my opinion.....

Besides, it's a tradeoff. Those of us who know what smoking does to us and who continue to smoke if cigarettes are available and anything short of getting kicked out of where we live or executed or something is the punishment.... usually have reasons beyond "it's easy to do."

As in me??? I'd rather die at 65 of lung cancer than at 90 suffering from Alzheimers (which everyone gets over a certain age, statistically.... old age is to Alzheimer's what smoking is to cancer)..... At least lung cancer gets you in six months or so.

What percentage of these smokers will vote against legalizing marijuana because of an imagined adverse effect on health?

West Hollywood is not a poor neighborhood and would guess a lot of residents there have good incomes and college degrees!

The city of Glendale has taken steps to lower where people can smoke. But, it seem that there is one group of people who feel above the law and will smoke anywhere they please. This same group also feels that traffic laws don't apply to them as well as they run red lights, stop signs, and speed down streets at reckless speeds. Why does this group feel this way? Were there not laws in the country that they are from? I don't get it.

You can't say "fewest" percentage. It has to be "smallest" percentage. "Few" is used with count nouns. Ex: Fewest tickets sold to concert. But: "Smallest amount of sugar in recipe". Because you can't count g rains of sugar (unless you have nothing else to do with your time).

Alfredo, you're being subversive! If you educate people, they will smoke less and the tobacco companies will make less money (domestically; they compensate by addicting poor people in 3rd world countries who don't even have money for food". Fortunately, the whores in Congress will keep on taking tobacco lobby money and running away from the education programs you (and I) advocate.

But banning cigarettes risks the same outcomes as did Prohibition -- birthplace of the Mafia.

Alfredo, you're being subversive! If you educate people, they will smoke less and the tobacco companies will make less money (domestically; they compensate by addicting poor people in 3rd world countries who don't even have money for food". Fortunately, the whores in Congress will keep on taking tobacco lobby money and running away from the education programs you (and I) advocate.

But banning cigarettes risks the same outcomes as did Prohibition -- birthplace of the Mafia.

People who are productive and contributing to society should not smoke. Non-smokers are largely more intelligent than smokers. Those who contribute nothing to society and who are living off of taxpayers should be encouraged to smoke, take dope and do whatever. The future of our social security system is dependant on a die-off.
Worthless young slugs who do nothing but lay around and who will probably never contribute to society should be allowed to do as many self-destructive things and they want to. Prisoners who are dead weight and will always be in prison should be allowed to smoke if there is an isolated place where the guards would not have to breathe the toxic stench.

These people need to smoke something worth smoking; og kush.

Hypatia is on the same page :D I wasn't serious about banning cigarettes, I smoke. I wanted to sound as ridiculous as this article does; smokers pay taxes and have rights too.

So, what. 100% of L.A.'s population inhales toxic chemicals, daily.

Thanks. Very informative.

"Affluent communities were more likely to have fewer smokers. Overall, residents who have college degrees and higher incomes were less likely to smoke." Uh, duh. Why don't we tax those annoying educated people and give the money to smokers?

What's sad is, you can ban smoking, but the known carcinogens in auto exhaust will kill you anyway. Do the research. Ultrafine particles in petrochemicals, especially petrodiesel, will induce a range of cancers, especially the brain and lungs.

Why not ban fossil fuels? No oil, no oil drilling, no Gulf Disaster. And a lot less cancer.

One reason I am against National Healthcare. Since I am healthy, exercise regularly, eat well, don't smoke and just live a generally healthy lifestyle my health expenses will be minimized throughout my life.

But these people who smoke, drink in excess, are fat and obese, will have all the expensive health problems that I will get to pay for. And since they are fat and unhealthy they will make low income and very likely won't even be able to work. But - I am gonna have to pay for those pathetic people.

I'm so glad I quit. I smoked for 20 years before I was finally able to quit. I was difficult, but I never wanted my children to see me smoke.


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