Light versus heavy smoking among African American men and women

Michael S. Businelle, Darla E. Kendzor, Tracy J. Costello, Ludmila Cofta-Woerpel, Yisheng Li, Carlos A. Mazas, Jennifer Irvin Vidrine, Lorraine R. Reitzel, Paul M. Cinciripini, Jasjit S. Ahluwalia, David W. Wetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The majority of smoking cessation research has focused on heavy smokers. African Americans (AA) are less likely than the general population to be heavy smokers. Thus, little is known about the smoking and psychosocial characteristics of lighter AA smokers. The present study compared the baseline demographic, smoking, and psychosocial characteristics of light (5-10 cigarettes per day; n = 86) and moderate to heavy (> 10 cigarettes per day; n = 286) AA smokers enrolled in a smoking cessation clinical trial. Results indicated no differences between groups on demographic variables. However, light smokers (LS) were less dependent on smoking, reported more previous quit attempts, and had higher self-efficacy to quit than moderate to heavy smokers (MHS). On a measure of withdrawal, LS reported less pre-quit craving and less difficulty concentrating than MHS. In addition, LS reported lower perceived stress, fewer symptoms of depression, and greater positive affect than AA MHS. These findings highlight important similarities and differences between AA LS and MHS, and have implications for the treatment of AA smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute (R01CA094826, R01CA94826S1, R01CA125413, & R25CA57730) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (K01DP000086).


  • African American
  • Light smokers
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Smoking


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