Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

San Francisco Is Still Smoking

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 7:55 AM

click to enlarge doctors_smoke_camels.jpg

County-by-county smoking data released Monday by the state Department of Public Health reveal ashtray-makers are still doing pretty good business here in San Francisco.

According to the California Adult Smoking Prevalence 2008 survey, 13.5 percent of San Franciscans are lighting up. To put that number in perspective, the state average is 13.1 percent -- the lowest total ever recorded and down from 26.7 percent in 1985. The local total also represents a steep decline from a 1996 survey, in which 19.5 percent of San Franciscans smoked. 
As always, smoking proves to be a leading cause of statistics. 

Interestingly, the more rural a county, the higher its percentage of cigarette smokers. In counties with fewer than 100 people per square mile, 15.9 percent of locals indulged in the habit. In counties with greater than 2,000 inhabitants per square mile, only 10.9 percent did. Accordingly, Tehama County is the smokiest in the state at 22.9 percent.

That puts San Francisco's smoking totals, while diminished along with the rest of the state's, far above the norm. Smoking rates in Los Angeles County are 10.4 percent; San Diego County boasts 11 percent; and Fresno 11.2 percent. Possible causes of San Francisco's unseemly rate: Lots of unmarried young people and, believe it or not, a high population of gays and lesbians.

click to enlarge butts2.jpg
On the other hand, Sacramento's 14-percent rate is the highest among urban counties in the state -- and people do settle down with their kids in Sac Town, which isn't seen as the Gay Mecca San Francisco is. The designation of Smoke City, California is one more thing for beleaguered capital-dwellers to choke on in these unpromising times.

Finally, because you wanted to know, here are the percentages for the nine Bay Area counties: Alameda: 10 percent; Contra Costa: 9.6 percent; Marin, a state-low 7.3 percent (lowest unemployment in the state, too, by the way, at 8.2 percent); Napa, 16 percent; San Francisco, 13.5 percent; San Mateo, 9.6 percent; Santa Clara, 8 percent; Solano, 14.6 percent, and, last alphabetically and statistically, Sonoma at 16.4 percent.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly 

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Almanac & Friends Sourfest
    Gabrielle Lurie brings back photos from Almanac & Friends Sourfest on Friday, February 13th.
  • On The Edge 5 - NSFW
    Erotic Photography and Sculpture Exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center.

    Photographs by Calibree Photography.