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Public Health Rep. 1990 May-Jun;105(3):290-5.

Cigarette smoking and cessation behaviors among urban blacks and whites.

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University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, Minneapolis.


Smoking behaviors among blacks and whites were studied in a population-based sample of 2,626 residents of Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. More blacks than whites were found to be smokers, before and after adjusting for age and education differences. More whites than blacks were former smokers, but the prevalence of those who had never smoked was comparable for whites and blacks. Among smokers, the mean number of cigarettes smoked per day was lower among blacks than whites, but more blacks were found to smoke cigarettes with high "tar" (dry particulate matter) and nicotine content. Men smokers were found to smoke more than women smokers, young people smoked more than older people, and those with a high school education or less smoked more than those with more than a high school education. Smoking cessation behavior consisted mostly of a variety of strategies that began with reducing cigarette consumption, followed by changing to lower tar brands, attempting to quit, and actually quitting. In general, a higher percentage of whites than blacks reported smoking cessation behaviors. A greater percentage of white than black women had tried cigarette brands lower in tar and nicotine within the previous year. Among men, a lower percentage of black than white smokers had tried quitting, and fewer black men planned to quit in the future. Blacks appeared to lag behind whites in their efforts to quit smoking. Smoking behavior continues to be problematic for both blacks and whites. Studies are needed to explain better the racial differences in smoking and smoking cessation behaviors, and to facilitate programs to encourage cessation.

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