The African American Youth Smoking Experience: An Overview
Published Date:Apr 2016
Source:Nicotine Tob Res. 18(Suppl 1):S11-S15.
Pubmed Central ID:PMC5104347
Funding:CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
Beginning in the late 1970s, a very sharp decline in cigarette smoking prevalence was observed among African American (AA) high school seniors compared with a more modest decline among whites. This historic decline resulted in a lower prevalence of cigarette smoking among AA youth that has persisted for several decades.
We synthesized information contained in the research literature and tobacco industry documents to provide an account of past influences on cigarette smoking behavior among AA youth to help understand the reasons for these historically lower rates of cigarette smoking.
While a number of protective factors including cigarette price increases, religiosity, parental opposition, sports participation, body image, and negative attitudes towards cigarette smoking may have all played a role in maintaining lower rates of cigarette smoking among AA youth as compared to white youth, the efforts of the tobacco industry seem to have prevented the effectiveness of these factors from carrying over into adulthood.
Continuing public health efforts that prevent cigarette smoking initiation and maintain lower cigarette smoking rates among AA youth throughout adulthood have the potential to help reduce the negative health consequences of smoking in this population.
While AA youth continue to have a lower prevalence of cigarette smoking than white youth, they are still at risk of increasing their smoking behavior due to aggressive targeted marketing by the tobacco industry. Because AAs suffer disproportionately from tobacco-related disease, and have higher incidence and mortality rates from lung cancer, efforts to prevent smoking initiation and maintain lower cigarette smoking rates among AA youth have the potential to significantly lower lung cancer death rates among AA adults.
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