Blacks Less Likely to Smoke, But Less Likely to Quit

Socioeconomic factors explain difference, researchers say

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THURSDAY, Nov. 4, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Black Americans are less likely than whites to start smoking but they're also less likely to quit once they do start, says a study in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The study of more than 240,000 people found that an average of 59 percent of black Americans had never smoked, compared to 49 percent of whites. However, on average, only 15 percent of blacks had quit smoking, compared to 26 percent of whites.

About 26 percent of both racial groups were current smokers.

The differences in rates of quitting between blacks and whites are based on economic and social factors, not race, the study authors said.

"Disparities in smoking cessation among racially classified social groups are strongly influenced by socioeconomic status and do not appear as fixed attributes reflecting biological or genetic differences between African-Americans and whites," study author Gary King, of Penn State University, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has advice on quitting smoking.

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, Oct. 28, 2004

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