Differences among African American light, moderate, and heavy smokers

K. S. Okuyemi, J. S. Ahluwalia, K. P. Richter, M. S. Mayo, K. Resnicow

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82 Scopus citations


This study examined differences in demography, behavior, attitude, and physician intervention among African American light, moderate, and heavy smokers. Data were derived from an intervention study designed to assess whether a smoking status stamp would increase screening for smoking status and cessation counseling by physicians. Current analysis included 879 African American smokers categorized into three groups: light (<10 cigarettes/day), moderate (10-19 cigarettes/day), or heavy (≥20 cigarettes/day) smokers based on number of cigarettes per day smoked. Light smokers constituted 40% of study sample, 33% were moderate smokers, and 27% were heavy smokers. Light smokers were more likely to be female (p<0.001) and have a shorter smoking history (p<0.001). Light smokers were not different in age (p=0.334), or the number of previous quit attempts (p=0.551). Although light smokers were more likely than moderate and heavy smokers to be preparing to quit (p<0.001), they were less likely to be asked their smoking status (p=0.031) or told to arrange follow-up for smoking cessation (p=0.034) by their physicians. Many African American smokers are light smokers. Light smokers are more likely to be female and have a shorter smoking history. Despite their readiness to quit, compared to heavier smokers, African American light smokers are asked about smoking less often by their physicians. Programs are needed to enhance physician intervention in this understudied population of smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

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