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L.A. County to Launch their 'Most Aggressive, Targeted Anti-Tobacco Campaign' Yet

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Lighting up a cigarette in Hollywood | Photo by Lucyrk in LA via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Lighting up a cigarette in Hollywood | Photo by Lucyrk in LA via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Remember in June when L.A. County health officials released a study that broke down smoking rates based on geographical locations? It showed that cities like West Hollywood and Lancaster have some of the highest smoking rates while Malibu, Agoura Hills and Calabasas had the lowest ones.Now that data is being put to work. Yesterday Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined L.A. County leaders to start announce a anti-tobacco campaign that will target communities and populations with high smoking rates.

For example, certain populations having higher smoking rates than others. Korean males take the top spot with a 44.8% rate, followed by African American males (32.1%) and Vietnamese males (24.8%). Other populations with high smoking rates include LGBT, those living in poverty, and those suffering from mental health and substance abuse problems.

L.A. County's overall smoking rate is 14.3% -- that's more than a million people -- which is lower than the national rate of about 20%.

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“These efforts are ultimately focused on preventing the next generation of teenagers and young adults from using tobacco products. It is essential that we create more environments where tobacco use is not acceptable, where all county residents are protected from exposure to secondhand smoke, and where those who want help quitting know how and where to go get it,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, Director of L.A. County Public Health.

Funding for the program comes from a federal stimulus grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the 44 awardees, L.A. County received the most. $32.1 million will be split between tobacco prevention ($16.2 million) and obesity prevention ($15.9 million).

A website, L.A. Quits, is available for more information on quitting. There's also the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS.