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The California Tobacco Control Program: A Decade of Progress, Results from the California Tobacco Survey, 1990-1999

  • Author(s): Cancer Prevention and Control Program, University of California, San Diego
  • et al.
Abstract

Executive Summary:

During the 1990s in California, smoking behavior and attiudes about smoking have changed, as measured from the California Tobacco Surveys (CTS) and other data sources. Some of the most important findings from the CTS are highlighted below. For a more complete summary, see the Key Findings from each chapter of this report, which appear both in this Executive Summary and at the end of each chapter. Throughout this report, results are given with the margin of error (±95% confidence limits)

Adult Smoking Behavior

Over the decade, per capita cigarette consumption fell by a factor of 57% in California compared to only 27% in the rest of the United States. By the end of 1999, Californians consumed only 4.1 packs of cigarettes per person per month, compared to 9.1 in the rest of the United States.

While adult (18+ years) smoking prevalence decreased in the first few years of the decade, after 1994 changes in the prevalence were not statistically significant. The most recent CTS indicated that adult smoking prevalence was 18.3±0.3% in 1999.

Despite relatively stable smoking prevalence since 1993, fewer California smokers are heavy daily smokers, and between 1990 and 1999, the prevalence of daily smoking declined by a factor of 18.6%. These findings explain the decline in per capita cigarettes consumption. In 1999, only 13.0±0.3% of Californians were daily smokers. Only 6.4±0.4% of California college graduates were daily smokers.

Over the decade, the percent of California smokers making a quit attempt lasting a day or longer in the last year increased by a factor of 25.9% to 60.1±1.5% in 1999. Quitters in 1999 appeared to be as successful as those earlier in the decade.

In California, the cigar fad appears to be dissipating, mostly among adults who have never smoked cigarettes. In 1999, most current California cigar smokers only a few cigars a month 83.2Executive Summary:

Durig the 1990s in California, smoking behavior and attiudes about smoking have changed, as measured form the California Tobacco Surveys (CTS) and other data sources. Some of the most important findings from the CTS are highlighted below. For a more complete summary, see the Key Findings from each chapter of this report, which appear both in this Executive Summary and at the end of each chapter. Throughout this report, results are given with the margin of error (±95% confidence limits)

Adult Smoking Behavior

Over the decade, per capita cigarette consumption fell by a factor of 57% in California compared to only 27% in the rest of the United States. By the end of 1999, Californians consumed only 4.1 packs of cigarettes per person per month, compared to 9.1 in the rest of the United States.

While adult (18+ years) smoking prevalence decreased in the first few years of the decade, after 1994 changes in the prevalence were not statistically significant. The most recent CTS indicated that adult smoking prevalence was 18.3±0.3% in 1999.

Despite relatively stable smoking prevalence since 1993, fewer California smokers are heavy daily smokers, and between 1990 and 1999, the prevalence of daily smoking declined by a factor of 18.6%. These findings explain the decline in per capita cigarettes consumption. In 1999, only 13.0±0.3% of Californians were daily smokers. Only 6.4±0.4% of California college graduates were daily smokers.

Over the decade, the percent of California smokers making a quit attempt lasting a day or longer in the last year increased by a factor of 25.9% to 60.1±1.5% in 1999. Quitters in 1999 appeared to be as successful as those earlier in the decade.

In California, the cigar fad appears to be dissipating, mostly among adults who have never smoked cigarettes. In 1999, most current California cigar smokers only a few cigars a month (83.2±3.7% smoked <5/month). Cigar smokers who were former cigarette smokers showed the highest level of monthly cigar consumption.

Adolescent Smoking Behavior

Although California adolescents showed an alarming increase in smoking prevalence (any smoking in the past 30 days) between 1993 and 1996, by 1999 current smoking prevalence had fallen to 7.7±0.8%, significantly lower than prevalence in 1990.

Among young adolescents 12-13 years of age, the percentage of committed never smokers rose by a factor of 17.7% between 1996 and 1999 to 65.7±1.9%.

In 1999, 79.8±6.4 of current adolescent established smokers reported they had tried to quit sometime in the past.

Adolescent use of other tobacco products is highly related to cigarette smoking. In 1999, rates of adolescent ever experimentation with cigars (15.0±1.2%) and bidis (7.0±0.8) were much higher than for chewing tobacco or snuff (3.1±0.5%).

Protection of Nonsmokers form Secondhand Tobacco Smoke

In 1999, 93.4±0.8% of California indoor workers reported that smoking was not allowed in their workplace, up from 35.0±1.3% in 1990.

In 1999, the percentage of nonsmokers exposed to someone smoking in their work area in the past two weeks increased significantly from 11.8±1.5% in 1996 to 15.6±1.4% in 1999. Over the decade, however, exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace decreased by a factor of 46.2%

In 1999, 73.3±1.1% of Californians lived in smokefree homes, up by a factor of 30% since 1993. Further, nearly half (47.2±1.8%) of current California smokers live in smokefree homes, a factor increase of 135% since 1993.

Accordingly, the percentage of California children and adolescents protected from secondhand smoke at home increased by a factor of 15.1% since 1993, to 88.6±1.1% in 1999.

Other Important Findings

While adult California smokers were more concerned about the price of cigarettes after the $0.50/pack excise tax increase in January 1999, about 70% buy their cigarettes at the most expensive outlets, only a few (5.47±0.8%) bothered to seek out untaxed sources, and 58.2±1.139% supported a further tax increase of $0.50 or more.

In 1999, less than half (48.0±1.5%) of California’s adolescent never smokers believed that it is easy to get cigarettes, down by a factor of 16% since 1996.

Perceived compliance with smokefree school policies increased by a factor of 64% from 1996 to 1999, when 66.6±1.5% of adolescents reported that most of the students who smoke obey the no-smoking rule on school property.

In 1999, 9.0±0.9% of adolescents had a tobacco promotional item, a factor decrease of 34.5% since 1996. However, 14.9±1.1% of adolescents said they would be willing to use a promotional item. Few adults (1.2±0.2%) reported ever giving such an item to a child or adolescent, but 7.6±0.6% said they were willing to do so.

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