Low-income

The Story of Low-income

Communities that are predominantly low-income are highly profitable in the eyes of Big Tobacco, so they target them in hard-hitting ways.  Not only do these neighborhoods have the highest density of stores selling tobacco products,1 but in these communities the tobacco industry also offers the lowest prices on packs of cigarettes and products such as little cigars and cigarillos, which can cost less than a dollar.2 Big Tobacco works to keep an endless supply of cheap and easily accessible  products flowing into these communities to keep people hooked.

Big Tobacco has even handed out free cigarettes to children living in housing projects and tried to issue tobacco discount coupons with food stamps.3 California’s working families need more opportunities, not attempts by Big Tobacco to hook children to deadly products.

  1. 2017 Story of Inequity, Indicator: Density of stores selling tobacco per 1,000 residents by priority population group.
  2. 2017 Story of Inequity, Indicator: Average price for the cheapest pack of cigarettes by priority population group and, Indicator: Average price for a single of the leading brand of flavored little cigar/cigarillo by priority population group.
  3. Tobacco is a Social Justice Issue: Low-Income Communities, January 31, 2017, truth initiative

The Proof is in the Data

Indicator
Low-income
General Population
Adult Tobacco Use
1.Adult Cigarette Use: Adult cigarette smoking prevalence% below 185% FPL15.2%12.4%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
2.Change in Adult Cigarette Use: Rate of change in adult cigarette smoking, 2007 to 2014-17.1%-16.1%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2007. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
3.Adult Tobacco Use: Adult tobacco use prevalence (including all tobacco products, e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes, other tobacco products)20.5%17.4%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013-2014.
Availability of Tobacco & Tobacco Industry Influence
4.Cheapest Cigarettes: Average price for the cheapest pack of cigarettes% below 185% FPL$4.43$4.58
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
5.Flavored Little Cigar Price: Average price for a single flavored little cigar/cigarillo% below 185% FPL$0.90$0.97
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
6.Tobacco Retail Licensing: Proportion of population protected by a strong tobacco retail licensing law34.9%36.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2015.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2009-2013.
7.Tobacco Stores: Density of stores selling tobacco per 100,000 residentsbelow 185% FPL14386
  • California Department of Tax and Fees Administration. California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer Licensees, October 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
8.Flavored Tobacco: Proportion of stores that sell flavored non-cigarette tobacco products% below 185% FPL81.3%81.8%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
9.Menthol Cigarettes: Proportion of stores that sell menthol cigarettes% below 185% FPL92.6%92.2%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
10.Tobacco Advertising: Percentage of stores that keep 90% of their storefronts free from any advertising% below 185% FPL28.8%37%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
Secondhand Smoke
11.Smoke-free Multi-unit Housing: Proportion of population protected by a smoke-free multi-unit housing law8%8.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2009-2013.
12.Smoke-free Homes: Proportion of smoke-free homes91.4%92.9%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013-2014.
Cessation
13.California Smokers’ Helpline Enrollees: Proportion of California Smokers' Helpline enrolleesMedi-Cal enrollees76.3%24.3%
  • California Smokers' Helpline. Helpline Caller Intake Reports, July to December 2016.
14.Quitting: Proportion of smokers who tried quitting in the last 12 months65.7%60.6%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
15.Doctor Advice to Quit: Proportion of smokers whose doctors advised them to quit51.6%47.3%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Online California Adult Tobacco Survey, 2016.

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A Story of Inequity

Tobacco's Impact on Health Disparities in California

For decades, the tobacco industry has aggressively targeted California’s diverse communities with predatory practices. Internal documents from Big Tobacco outline their strategies – many of which are shocking attempts to peddle deadly products by way of product discounts and manipulative advertising. They even gave away free products to youth in the past. These tactics masquerade as support for communities under the guise of cultural celebration.

Unfortunately, the tactics have worked. Big Tobacco aggressively targeted communities and, as a result, some populations have higher rates of tobacco use, experience greater secondhand smoke exposure at work and at home, and have higher rates of tobacco-related disease than the general population.1

Addressing tobacco-related health inequities is key to California’s efforts to fight tobacco, our state’s number one cause of preventable death and disease.2 Tobacco use, pricing, and its impact across California were analyzed where significant disparities were found across various populations. See how Big Tobacco affects each community in the Nation’s most diverse state.

A Story Of Inequity Methodology >

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tobacco-Related Disparities
  2. Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic in California, April 11, 2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention