Daggers fly at an Asian man holding a cigarette. A Hispanic smoking father discovers that his child has asthma. An African American woman laments the absence of her deceased father, a smoker, at her wedding.

With images like these, Tobacco Free California, which is funded by a cigarette tax, is trying to combat persistent smoking rates among some of the state’s ethnic groups.

The release of new ads this week targeted at blacks, Hispanics and Asians coincides with the publication of a report on tobacco trends in the state.

In general, smoking rates are falling in the state. Since the inception of the Tobacco Control Program, the annual number of cigarette packs sold in California dropped by more than 1.5 billion per year, from 2.5 billion packs in 1998 to 972,000 packs in 2011. Only 12 percent of Californians smoke.

Black and Hispanic men smoke at higher rates (18.9 percent and 15.5 percent, respectively) than white men (14.3 percent). But Asian men smoke at a lower rate (13.1 percent).

Among women, blacks continue to have the highest prevalence (15.2 percent), followed by whites (11.2 percent), while Hispanic women (5.7 percent) and Asian women (4.5 percent) smoke at lower rates.

Younger Californians are more likely to smoke than older ones, and the rich smoke less than the poor.

The report also identifies a trend toward increased use of smokeless tobacco products. About 1.5 percent of California adults used smokeless tobacco in 2010, an increase from 0.6 percent in 2008. Among high school students, smokeless tobacco prevalence was 3.9 percent in 2010, an increase
from 3.1 percent in 2004.

Here are some of the other new ads:

Videos: New Anti-Tobacco Ads Target Calif. Ethnic Groups 14 December,2012Laird Harrison

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