Racial disparities in cigarette use persist

While overall cigarette use has been on the decline since 1964, racial disparities regarding smoking rates continue, according to the CDC's most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

CDC researchers aggregated data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health collected from 2002 to 2005 and 2010 to 2013. Analysis determined that while smoking rates for whites and blacks were comparable for both datasets, native populations used cigarettes at a significantly higher level: For both whites and blacks, cigarette use was recorded at 24.9 percent, but American Indians and Alaska Natives had a smoking prevalence rate of 38.9 percent in the 2010-2013 dataset.

Also, while most populations displayed a decline in cigarette smoking prevalence, prevalence increased among American Indians and Alaska Natives, from 37.1 percent in 2002-2005 to 38.9 percent.

"We know smoke-free policies, hard-hitting media campaigns, higher prices for tobacco products, and promotion of cessation treatment in clinical settings are proven to reduce tobacco product use," said Corinne Graffunder, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. "If fully implemented and enforced, these strategies could help reduce tobacco use, particularly among racial and ethnic populations with higher rates of use."

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