Despite a significant decline in overall adult cigarette smoking since 1964, disparities in cigarette smoking remain among racial and ethnic population groups, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
For example, current (past 30-day) cigarette smoking during 2010-2013 was lower among Asians overall (10.9 percent) compared with Whites (24.9 percent). But among Asian sub-groups, the prevalence of current cigarette smoking ranged from 7.6 percent among Chinese and Asian Indians to 20 percent among Korean Americans. The American Indian/Alaska Native population had the highest prevalence of cigarette smoking at 38.9 percent. The findings in this study show the importance of identifying higher rates of tobacco use across and within racial/ethnic population groups to better understand and address differences in tobacco use among U.S. adults.
Estimates of cigarette smoking prevalence are usually presented in aggregate for racial or ethnic populations, such as Asian or Hispanic, because sample sizes are too small to provide estimates among racial/ethnic subgroups within these populations. To get a large enough sample size for this study, researchers aggregated data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health collected between 2002-2005 and 2010-2013 to assess cigarette-smoking prevalence among six racial and ethnic population groups and 10 select subgroups in the United States.
“Even though the overall cigarette-smoking rate is declining, disparities remain among racial and ethnic groups and within subgroups,” said Bridgette Garrett, Ph.D., associate director for health equity in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, in a news release. “Looking beyond broad racial and ethnic population categories can help better focus the strategies that we know work to reduce tobacco use among sub-groups with higher rates of use.”