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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Prevalence of Heavy Smoking in California and the United States, 1965-2007

Wednesday, April 13, 2011  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Pierce JP, Messer K, White MM, Cowling DW, Thomas DP. JAMA. 2011;305(11):1106-1112.

This study demonstrates that California has reduced overall smoking and high intensity smoking much faster than the rest of the country because it has put in place those policies and programs proven to reduce tobacco use – the nation’s longest running prevention and cessation program, the nation’s first statewide smoke-free law, and in earlier years, higher tobacco taxes. Findings indicate that between 1965 and 2007, the prevalence of high-intensity smoking decreased greatly in the United States. The greater decline in high-intensity smoking prevalence in California was related to reduced smoking initiation and a probable increase in smoking cessation. This study presents an opportunity to demonstrate to the media and decision-makers that comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation programs are wise investments that save lives and health care dollars. Tobacco control advocates can also use this study to educate the media, policymakers and other audiences about the benefits of other tobacco control policies like smoke-free laws.

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