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Am J Public Health. 2011 Oct;101(10):e4-e14. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300289. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Causes of the decline in cigarette smoking among African American youths from the 1970s to the 1990s.

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School of Public Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, USA.


Adult cigarette smoking prevalence trends among African Americans (AAs) and Whites are similar. However, during the decline in youth smoking that occurred between the mid-1970s and the early 1990s, the drop in smoking rates among AA adolescents was more than double that among Whites. We examined the evidence for potential explanations for this phenomenon. On the basis of our findings, we propose that racial differences in parental attitudes, religious ties, negative perceptions and experiences of the health effects of smoking, worsening poverty, increased use of food stamps, and price sensitivity were major factors contributing to the more rapid decrease in and continued lower rates of smoking among AA youths.

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