Number Of Smokers In California Drops To Record Low

SAN FRANCISCO, (KCBS) – A record low number of Californians are still lighting up, with Marin County the lowest in the state with just 7.3 percent of the population smoking. Santa Clara is just behind Marin with 8 percent of its residents smoking.  Sonoma has the highest tobacco use of any county in the Bay Area at 16.4 percent.

San Francisco remains slightly above the state average at 13.5 percent.  Alyonik Hrushow with the city’s public health department said tobacco is widely available here.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports

“If you walk around the streets of San Francisco, you see cigarettes sold, it seems like, on every corner,” she said.

Spokesman Evan Schwartz with the state Coastal Commission said next year’s anti-smoking programs will emphasize the environmental damage caused by smokers.

Since 1988 when Proposition 99 passed, which taxed cigarettes 25 cents per pack for anti-smoking education, there has been a big drop in lung cancer rates statewide. And the number of smokers dropped about 50 percent.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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