Uneven Protection: Gaps in California’s Tobacco Control Policy Coverage Leave Many Vulnerable

person smoking a cigarette next to children reading a book in a park


Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2024
Add to Calendar


12:00 PM - 01:00 PM PDT



Uneven Protection: Gaps in California’s Tobacco Control Policy Coverage Leave Many Vulnerable

Banning smoking in public schools and playgrounds, in nearly every workplace, in restaurants, bars, and indoor public spaces. Increasing the cigarette tax from $0.87 to $2.87 per pack. Pushing for smoke-free housing and bans on flavored tobacco. 

California has long been a national leader in efforts to end the tobacco epidemic, adopting state and local policies to support tobacco-free communities. While the state as a whole has made significant progress over the past three decades in reducing rates of cigarette smoking, progress across some California communities has been uneven.

In a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR), researchers examined how statewide variations in local tobacco policies have left some Californians more vulnerable to the harms of tobacco. Their investigation provides first-of-its-kind information on inequities in tobacco control policy protection across populations disproportionately impacted by tobacco, including racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities; low-income, rural, or multiunit housing residents; and people living in neighborhoods with high concentrations of low-income or minoritized populations.

Researchers will share findings from the study — which uses data from the 2014–2019 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and existing state, county, and city tobacco control policies and neighborhood-level data on social drivers of health — and discuss some of the disparities in local tobacco policies and their effects on smoking behaviors. They will also share insights from a series of focus groups and interviews with community members, including parents, young adults, students, tobacco control professionals, public health administrators, volunteer organizations, and policymakers, and provide policy recommendations to address tobacco-related inequities in California. 


Yu Yu, MD, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Yu Yu, MD, PhD, is a UCLA CHPR postdoctoral researcher who studies environmental exposure distribution, identifying community groups at greater risk for the sake of reducing health threats and improving preparedness and response.
Peggy Toy
Former Director, Health DATA Program
Peggy Toy was the director of Health DATA (Data. Advocacy. Training. Assistance.), UCLA CHPR’s public service program and leads community-based training using data to advocate for better access to care for underserved California populations.
Evi Hernandez
Senior Director of Programs, California Health Collaborative

Evi Hernandez is the senior director of programs at the California Health Collaborative (CHC), a nonprofit committed to enhancing the quality of life and health of the people of California, particularly the underserved and underrepresented. 

Ying-Ying Meng, DrPh
Director of Research
Ying-Ying Meng, DrPH, is the director of research, senior research scientist, and Chronic Disease Program co-director at UCLA CHPR. She studies health care inequalities and the relationship between physical and social environments and chronic disease.