Tobacco Caused Cancers

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Jerry Belletto 
I didn’t smoke in high school. Cool kids did and I thought it looked phony. I was short and baby-faced and that would have made it worse. When I got to college, the tobacco companies gave out free pipe tobacco so I gave it a try. I was soon bumming cigarettes at an alarming rate. By my sophomore year, I was a pack-a-day man.
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Coordinated action on tobacco control, especially in young adults, low income communities, the homeless and people with mental illness - where smoking rates are higher than the general population- can make the highest impact.

Adult cigarette smoking is down, but tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of cancer and cancer deaths in the U.S. Cancers linked to tobacco use make up 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed.

Higher rates of tobacco use

While smoking prevalence is less than 12% in California, smoking rates among San Francisco subgroups are 18.9% among African Americans, up to 25% in LGBT samples, up to 42% among persons enrolled in primary care safety net clinics, and 70% among persons enrolled in addiction treatment.
Tobacco Free SF

The San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition has already established four key priorities that complement tobacco control activities underway at many organizations throughout San Francisco:

  • Establish smoke-free multi-unit housing
  • Reduce tobacco advertising on and in stores
  • Reduce cigarette butt litter, a major contributor to the volume of toxic waste in our environment
  • Limit access to flavored tobacco products, with a focus on countering the aggressive targeting of African American communities through menthol cigarettes



  • Breathe California: Golden Gate Public Health Partnership 
  • San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition
  • UCSF
  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center




Goal: To improve smoking intervention and increase smoking cessation among low income, high risk populations in San Francisco

Method: Collaboration with community partners and the San Francisco Department of Public Health



Goal: Increase smoking cessation among young adults in San Francisco

Method: Reach them where they are through social media



Goal: Educate the public about the need for an ordinance that restricts selling and distributing menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products

Method: Engage those communities most disproportionately affected by menthol, leverage community advocates/activists



Tobacco cessation resources in San Francisco