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California’s Smoking Rate Declines, But Some Still Not Satisfied

Audio

Aired 4/20/09

 

California public health officials are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the state's tobacco control program. While the adult smoking rate continues to decline, some say the program is losing momentum. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

 

California's tobacco control program was launched in 1988. It's funded by a 25-cent per pack tax on cigarettes.

 

Since it began, the state's adult smoking rate has fallen from 22.7 percent to 13.3 percent.

 

Deborah Kelley is with the San Diego County chapter of the American Lung Association . She says the program is under-funded.

 

"We are not preventing enough kids from taking up the habit as we used to," Kelley says. "We're not saving as many lives, people are not quitting smoking as rapidly as they used to, so, you know, the job isn't done."

 

Kelley says the state should seriously consider raising the tax rate. She says 29 other states have higher cigarette taxes.   

 

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

 

 

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