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For Immediate Release:

June 22, 2010

First Ever Report Shows Smoking Rates by Local Community
Highlights need for continued efforts to reduce smoking rates in LA County

LOS ANGELES - A new report that breaks down adult cigarette smoking rates by geographical area in Los Angeles County finds there are great disparities between cities/communities when it comes to tobacco use. The report, titled Cigarette Smoking in Los Angeles County: Local Data to Inform Tobacco Policy, is intended to inform cities and communities and facilitate their efforts to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

"Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and many cancers. Over one million adults in the county continue to risk their lives by smoking, as well as endanger the lives of others with their second-hand smoke," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "Understanding where smoking rates are highest in the county allows policy makers to develop support for and establish programs and policies in the fight against tobacco use."

The following is a brief breakdown of cities and communities with higher and lower adult smoking rates:

Higher: Lower:
Quartz Hills (21.9%)San Marino (5.3%)
Lancaster (21.7%)Malibu (5.8%)
West Hollywood (19.6%)La Canada-Flintridge (6.4%)
Lake Los Angeles (19%)Calabasas (7.3%)
LA City Council District 8 (19%)Palos Verdes Estates (7.4%)
Palmdale (18.5%)Agoura Hills (7.7%)
Hermosa Beach (17.4%)Westlake Village (7.9%)
Redondo Beach (16.0%)Walnut (8.8%)

For the past two decades, Los Angeles County residents and visitors have benefited from public health policies that protect our communities from tobacco use and secondhand smoke. Local tobacco control policies are an important and logical extension of efforts to protect our communities. To date, 47 cities and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which governs the unincorporated areas of the county, have enacted one or more tobacco control policies.

Cities are encouraged to adopt smoke-free policies or strengthen existing ones. Examples of city-and-community level policies are as follows:

  • Restrict smoking in multi-unit housing (e.g., apartments and condominiums), including provisions prohibiting smoking in indoor and outdoor common areas, and on balconies and patios.
  • Reduce secondhand smoke exposure in outdoor public places, such as outdoor dining areas, public events, parks, and hospital campuses.
  • Restrict youth access to tobacco products through tobacco retail licensing and conditional use permits.
  • Reduce consumption of tobacco products by requiring tobacco retailers to post health warnings signs and promote smoking cessation services at the point-of-purchase.
  • Discourage tobacco use through pricing strategies such as adding a fee to the sale of each pack of cigarette that will be used to mitigate tobacco litter.
  • "In addition to the need for policy-based initiatives to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, support and resources must also be given to residents who want to quit smoking," said Linda Aragon, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Tobacco Control Program. "This comprehensive approach will help ensure long-term success."

    Los Angeles County offers resources to residents who are currently addicted to tobacco, have already quit, or want to help a friend or relative kick this deadly addiction as well. Residents can visit for information and resources about quitting smoking, or call the California Smokers' Helpline, 1-800-NO-BUTTS. The helpline offers free and confidential telephone counseling that has proven to double a smoker's chances of successfully quitting than if the smoker tried to do it alone. The service also assists those trying to quit chewing tobacco and has experts to help teens quit. For more information, please visit

    For a full copy of the Cigarette Smoking in Los Angeles County: Local Data to Inform Tobacco Policy report, log onto For more information on quit smoking resources and smoke-free policy recommendations, visit the Department of Public Health's Tobacco Control website at

    The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit, visit our YouTube channel at, or follow us on Twitter: LAPublicHealth. | Smoking report