African AmericansBlack InterestsHealth & Fitness

Do You Want To Quit Smoking?

African American businessman smoking cigarette

Black or African American is defined by the Office of Management and Budget as “a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.”1 There were over 40 million African Americans in the United States in 2016—approximately 13% of the U.S. population.2

Although African Americans usually smoke fewer cigarettes and start smoking cigarettes at an older age, they are more likely to die from smoking-related diseases than Whites.3,4,5,6,7,8

Tobacco use is a major contributor to the three leading causes of death among African Americans—heart disease, cancer, and stroke.3,4,5

  • Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death among African Americans.4 The risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for cigarette smokers than nonsmokers.10

Patterns of Tobacco Use

  • African American youth and young adults have significantly lower prevalence of cigarette smoking than Hispanics and Whites.11
  • Although the prevalence of cigarette smoking among African American and White adults is the same, African Americans smoke fewer cigarettes per day.3,6
  • On average, African Americans initiate smoking at a later age compared to Whites.3,6

Secondhand Smoke Exposure

African American children and adults are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke than any other racial or ethnic group.12

  • During 2011–2012, secondhand smoke exposure was found in:
    • 67.9% of African American children aged 3–11 years.12
    • 54.6% of African American adolescents aged 12–19 years.12
    • 39.6% of African American adults aged 20 years and older.12
  • African American nonsmokers generally have higher cotinine levels (an indicator of recent exposure to tobacco smoke) than nonsmokers of other races/ethnicities.12

Quitting Behavior

Most African American adult cigarette smokers want to quit smoking, and many have tried.10,13

  • Among African American current daily cigarette smokers aged 18 years and older:
    • 72.8% report that they want to quit compared to 67.5% of Whites, 69.6% of Asian Americans, 67.4% of Hispanics, and 55.6% of American Indians/Alaska Natives.13
    • 63.4% report attempting to quit compared to 56.2% of Hispanics, 53.3% of Whites, and 69.4% of Asian Americans.13
  • Despite more quit attempts, African Americans are less successful at quitting than White and Hispanic cigarette smokers, possibly because of lower utilization of cessation treatments such as counseling and medication.3,13

Click Here To Visit the Center for Disease Control Website To Learn More

Are You Ready To Quit Smoking?  Click Here To Learn More From

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