When I moved into a dorm at Rice U. in 1976, roommates were matched, in part, on whether they smoked. But only 3 out of 250 guys smoked, a startlingly low fraction in a society in which smoking was then common. So, while the Kool Kids tended to smoke back then, the Nerds already did not. The Triumph of the Nerds is one of the main cultural changes of my lifetime.
Here are some stats on smoking in LA County today. In summary, smoking is most common in downscale locations, with one exception: West Hollywood, the gay district, where, perhaps, dying of lung cancer eventually is less of a concern than dying HIV soon.
Nearly a quarter of adults in Quartz Hill -- 21.9% -- are smokers, followed closely by its Antelope Valley neighbor, Lancaster, where 21.7% of adults smoke, according to the report.
These are mixed-race blue collar high desert exurbs.
The report, the first neighborhood-level analysis of smoking by county health officials, also found higher levels of smokers in West Hollywood [gay], South Los Angeles [black and Hispanic] and parts of the South Bay [Southeast Asian and Polynesian?].
Males in L.A. County were almost twice as likely as females to smoke, 19% to 10%. The study's authors also found distinct racial disparities; 25% of blacks in L.A. County are smokers, compared to 15% of whites, 12% of Latinos and 11% of Asian Pacific Islanders.
I was under the impression that black youths didn't smoke much at all, so are these older blacks? LA has a lower percentage of black ladies who are fat than other parts of the country (where I live, virtually every black woman, most of them affiliated in some way with the entertainment industry, is slender and stylish), so maybe LA blacks smoke to keep their weight under control?
Affluent communities were more likely to have fewer smokers. Overall, residents who have college degrees and higher incomes were less likely to smoke.
Joining Quartz Hill and Lancaster with high rates of adult smoking were: West Hollywood, 19.6%; Lake Los Angeles, 19%; the South L.A. council district represented by Bernard Parks, 19%; Palmdale, 18.5%; Hermosa Beach, 17.4%; and Redondo Beach, 16%.
The cities with the lowest adult smoking rates: San Marino, 5.3%; Malibu, 5.8%; La Cañada Flintridge, 6.4%; Calabasas, 7.3%; Palos Verdes Estates, 7.4%; Agoura Hills, 7.7%; Westlake Village, 7.9%; and Walnut, 8.8%.
These are all Suburban Utopias.There is a definite positive correlation between smoking rates and mortgage default rates. I think Lake Los Angeles had the highest foreclosure rate in LA County.
Overall, about 14% of Los Angeles County residents are smokers -- well below the national rate. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20.6% of Americans smoke.
Nationwide, metropolitan areas with the highest rate of smokers are in the South, Appalachia, Montana and Wyoming [so, all those Marlboro Man commercials were demographically accurate!], according to the CDC. Those with the lowest rates are in California [health nuts], Florida [old people], Utah [Mormons] and suburban Connecticut and Maryland [upscale].