Highlights: California

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association and its partners have committed to three bold goals:
1. Reduce smoking rates, currently at about 18 percent, to less than 10 percent by 2024;
2. Protect all Americans from secondhand smoke by 2019; and
3. Ultimately eliminate the death and disease caused by tobacco use.

The American Lung Association in California recognizes that these bold goals will only be met in California if these following three actions are taken by our elected officials:
1. Increase the tobacco tax by $2.00 per pack and earmark funding for tobacco prevention and control, and tobacco-related disease research and treatments.
2. Reduce the sale of tobacco products in California communities - including stronger restrictions on youth access, flavored tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.
3. Expand access to tobacco cessation treatments and services for all Medi-Cal recipients.

In 2014, the American Lung Association in California and our volunteers championed several bills, but only two were signed into law by the Governor to protect Californians' lungs against secondhand smoke. Assembly Bill 1819 will protect children by prohibiting smoking inside family day care home at all times, whether children are present or not, and Assembly Bill 2359 will prohibit smoking within 25 feet of certified farmers' markets so that people and families trying to make healthier food choices aren't smoked out by tobacco.

In addition, the Lung Association and its coalition partners played defense by undertaking a significant effort to ensure that a weak definition of electronic cigarettes was not codified into state law during this legislative session. The measure (Senate Bill 648) originally would have ensured e-cigarettes were regulated just like any other tobacco product. But that tough language was stripped out by powerful, pro-tobacco voices in the Legislature. The new language inserted into the bill was a known tobacco industry tactic to draw a distinction between an e-cigarette and a tobacco product, which would set a potentially harmful precedent in state law and affect future e-cigarette legislation. After a significant grassroots effort let by Lung Association advocates and volunteers around the state, the bill failed passage in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The American Lung Association in California also had the opportunity to join forces with the California Department of Public Health on their Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community campaign. New statewide data from more than 7,300 retail stores throughout California revealed just how far the tobacco industry will go to get kids hooked on tobacco. Not only is the tobacco industry pedaling their products (including e-cigarettes) in many community stores near schools, but they are trying to hook younger consumers by selling candy-flavored tobacco products, many that cost under a dollar. We will continue to work on passing strong local and statewide laws that protect our children from the deadly influences pushed by the tobacco industry.

The American Lung Association in California will continue the fight to increase the tobacco tax, working with a broad and diverse coalition committed to a healthier California. We are determined to pass a life-saving $2-per-pack tobacco tax - either through the legislature or by ballot measure - by the end of 2016.

In addition, the Lung Association remains committed to collaborating at the local level in communities across California to pass strong and effective tobacco control laws where people live, work and play. Through these efforts, we will continue to prevent kids from ever picking up their first cigarette, motivate current smokers to quit and fight for better treatments and cures for lung diseases that so often result from, or are exacerbated by, tobacco use.

California State Facts

Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $18,135,550,000
Adult Smoking Rate: 12.5%
High School Smoking Rate: 13.8%
Middle School Smoking Rate: 4.8%
Smoking Attributable Deaths: 36,684
Smoking Attributable Lung Cancer Deaths: 10,715
Smoking Attributable Respiratory Disease Deaths: 10,860

Adult smoking rate is taken from CDC's 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school and middle school smoking rates are taken from the 2010 California Student Tobacco Survey.

To Get Involved, Contact:

Did You Know?

Read More Facts

By TheNumbers

Wonder what diseases smoking causes that you didn’t know about? Take a look at our top ten lists to find out.

View the Lists

10 Year Road Map

Check out our road map to eliminate tobacco-caused death and disease.

View the Road Map