SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Smoking and the use of other tobacco products continues to be a big concern for California health officials.
The State Department of Public Health has issued its first ever report on tobacco use and advertising in the state.
The report shows that California’s 25-year-old anti-tobacco campaign has helped its smoking rate become the second-lowest in the country. But still, there are three-and-a-half million people here who smoke, and many of them are young adults
“Young adults are showing the highest rate of consumption and that also is going up,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, State Health Office and Director.
“These are adults, or young adults, in the range of 18-24 years. It used to be that people were smoking in high school and they became addicted in high school, but now we’re seeing an older group that’s becoming addicted.”
Chapman says the study also found that the use of smokeless tobacco by minors is increasing. One popular product is called snus, a small tobacco patch that’s put in the mouth.
Chapman says the illegal sale of snus and other tobacco products to minors is also on the rise.
“We’re working on improving the monitoring of the illegal sales,” said Chapman
“We have teams that actually go in and track and monitor illegal sales. We’re doing education to the retailers. We have a tobacco anti-smoking campaign that’s coming out in January targeted to African-American, Asian and Latino populations. And so that’s all part of our attempts to help people quit smoking never start.”
But chapman says his department has only one dollar to spend on its anti-smoking campaign for every eight dollars spent on ads by the tobacco industry.