A review of tobacco use treatments in U.S. ethnic minority populations

Lisa Sanderson Cox, Kolawole Okuyemi, Won S. Choi, Jasjit S. Ahluwalia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Among racial and ethnic minorities, disparities in tobacco use, knowledge of health risks and treatment resources, and access to and utilization of treatment contribute to a disproportionate disease burden from tobacco use. Furthermore, racial and ethnic minorities have been underrepresented within tobacco treatment studies. Purpose/Objective. This paper provides a review of published studies examining tobacco treatment interventions among ethnic and minority populations in the United States. Study Design/Methods. Literature searches were used to identify smoking cessation interventions involving racial/ethnic minority populations. Identified studies were published between 1985 and 2009 involving African-American, Latino, Native American, and Asian or Pacific Islander smokers. Studies included in the review (1) targeted one or more ethnic minority group or had at least 10% of study participants from ethnic minority groups and (2) reported abstinence outcomes. Results. Sixty-four studies were included in this review. Of studies meeting inclusion criteria, 28 included a primary focus on African-Americans, 10 focused on Latinos, 4 focused on Native Americans, and 3 focused on Asian-American smokers. An additional 19 studies reported samples including participants from more than one minority group. Sample inclusion criteria, intervention content and duration, follow-up, abstinence assessment, and limitations of these studies were reviewed. Conclusions. Individuals from racial and ethnic minority populations are interested in stopping smoking and willing to participate in treatment research. Variations in the content of treatment intervention and study design produced a range of abstinence outcomes across studies. Additional research is needed for all groups, including African-American smokers, and special attention is warranted for Latino, Native American, and Asian groups given the paucity of published studies. Although there were limited evaluations of pharmacotherapy, the existing data support use of pharmacotherapy in addition to counseling for enhancing abstinence outcomes. Further attention to level of individual smoking, variability in smoking patterns, and use of other tobacco products is needed, given known variation within and between racial and ethnic groups. Overall, findings are consistent with recommendations from the 2008 Clinical Practice Guidelines calling for increased research devoted to evaluating and enhancing tobacco use treatment interventions among racial and ethnic minority populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S11-S30
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue numberSUPPL.5
StatePublished - 2011


  • African-Americans
  • Asian-Americans
  • Health disparities
  • Latinos
  • Minority health
  • Native Americans
  • Prevention research
  • Smoking cessation
  • Tobacco use


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