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Smoking in Los Angeles County is at its lowest level since public health officials began keeping records in 1997.
The number of Los Angeles County residents who smoke is down its lowest levels in at least 15 years, according to a newly released survey by the L.A. County Department of Public Health
The report found as of 2011 fewer than a million adults smoke in L.A. County. That's 13.1 percent of the adult population, down from 14.3 percent in 2007.
But significant disparities do exist.
African Americans showed the highest rates of smoking, with 17.2 percent smoking. Whites had the next highest rates 15.2 percent, followed by 11.9 percent of Latinos who light up. Asian/Pacific Islanders had the lowest rates of smoking at 9.2 percent.
The survey also found a disproportionately high rate of cigarette use among those 25 to 29, with more than one in five reporting they smoke.
The Antelope Valley has the highest percentage of smokers (15.6 percent) and West L.A., the lowest (9.7 percent).
And overall, men (16.4 percent) smoked more than women (10 percent).
L.A. County public health officials say cigarette smoking is directly linked to nearly 8,600 deaths each year. They say that annually, smoking costs the county $4.3 billion dollars in medical care costs and lost productivity.