Tobacco Use in Rural California: American Lung Association & CA4Health Release New Survey Results

Today, the American Lung Association and CA4Health released results from a survey of 12 rural California counties on tenants’ attitudes toward secondhand smoke in apartments and other multi-unit housing. These results show that tenants in rural communities are highly aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke and support protections against it in multi-unit housing. This survey found that 69% of rural tenants surveyed favor rules prohibiting smoking in outdoor common areas and 61% favor a ban on smoking inside apartment units.

Although California has many strong local tobacco control policies, rural California has not yet benefitted from the same protections as the rest of the state. However, this new survey shows that renters in these communities want the same protections. Changes need to happen and good policies have to be adopted in order to protect these communities that are heavily impacted by tobacco and have less access to programs to help quit smoking.

To bring more attention to this issue, in 2012 the American Lung Association in California created an informational document showing statistics of tobacco use in Rural California. According to this document, “smoking prevalence in rural communities is between 16% and 21%…significantly higher than the statewide smoking prevalence rate of 13.1%.” And youth in these parts of the state are twice more likely to use smokeless tobacco than those in urban settings. With startling facts like this, it’s easy to see that rural California needs and wants stronger protections to ensure their personal health and the health of their communities.

More information on the survey results are available to the public at

-Stacy Song

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