Who Still Smokes?

It’s been a couple of decades since California banned smoking in all enclosed workplaces. It’s long enough for it to seem like a long time ago but short enough to remember the smell of smoke in most restaurants. Heck, people used to smoke on airplanes.

Two decades out from the 1995 law in California, along with the known impact of smoking on one’s health, you’d think smoking rates would be way down. And you’d be right for many demographic groups, but for some, smoking is still the same as it ever was.

See the differences and changes in the the charts below. They show estimated percentage of adult smokers among different groups, for 1994 and 2014. Estimates are based on survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Nerd Notes

  • Data comes from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014 there were 464,664 interviews, and in 1994 there were 105,853 interviews. Records are weighted to reflect the national population at the time.
  • Household income was not adjusted for inflation. The income groups have stayed the same in the BRFSS survey, I’m guessing for comparability over years.
  • I analyzed and prepared the data in R. I used d3.js to make stacked bar charts.

Become a member. Support an independent site. Make great charts.

Join Now

Learn to Visualize Data See All →

How to Make (and Animate) a Circular Time Series Plot in R

Also known as a polar plot, it is usually not the better option over a standard line chart, but in select cases the method can be useful to show cyclical patterns.

How to Make Symbol-based Glyph Charts, with R Examples

Using geometric shapes as an encoding can provide another dimension to your charts.

How to Make a Dynamic Multi-population Pyramid in Excel

Create better population pyramids that allow for improved comparisons between sexes and populations.

How to Make Stacked Area Charts in R

From the basic area chart, to the stacked version, to the streamgraph, the geometry is similar. Once you know how to do one, you can do them all.