Despite a steady decline in smoking rates in California since 1988, Black children are reported to be more often exposed to secondhand smoke or to live with a smoker in the home, according to a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
According to the report, over half a million children under the age of 12 live in homes where smoking is allowed, and another 1.9 million live with an adult or teen smoker. African-American children ranked at the highest level of exposure to secondhand smoke at 12.6 percent, which was triple the rate of other racial and ethnic groups, researchers reported. Specifically, children in the Northern/Sierra and San Joaquin Valley regions were at the highest risk of exposure. “The fact that smoking is permitted in over 12 percent of African-American homes where young children live points to the need for health providers and educators to vigorously address the topic in this population,” researchers write in the study.
African-American children were also statistically more likely (13.4 percent) to have a teen or adult smoker in the household than whites (12.2 percent), Latinos (10.9 percent) or Asian children (9.4 percent). Researchers also reported that the lower a household’s income, the more likely it is that the household has an adult or teen smoker.