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J Natl Med Assoc. 2008 Mar;100(3):299-302.

Misestimation of peer tobacco use: understanding disparities in tobacco use.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA.


Blacks experience disproportionately elevated rates of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. Blacks experience delayed smoking initiation relative to other racial/ethnic groups, highlighting the importance of examining smoking correlates occurring in late adolescence/early adulthood. The current study reports data collected as part of an ongoing collaborative effort to assess alcohol and drug use on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Two-thousand, two-hundred, seventy-seven African-American subjects, aged 20.3 +/- 3.9 (range 18-53), completed the CORE Alcohol and Drug survey and a brief demographic questionnaire. Results indicated that 90% of all subjects overestimated the rate of smoking among their peers. Overestimating was associated with a > 80% increase in the risk of smoking. These data highlight the need to correct misinformation regarding smoking norms among students at some HBCUs.

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