Smoking risk and the likelihood of quitting among African-American female light and heavy smokers

Anita Fernander, Mitzi Schumacher, Xiaochen Wei, Peter Crooks, Peter Wedlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


While African-American females are more likely to be light smokers compared to their counterparts of other racially classified social groups (RCSGs), they are more likely to carry a heavier burden of smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Thus, it is critical that African-American female light smokers are targeted to engage in smoking cessation. Research has revealed that African-American women are less likely to have a successful quit attempt following a cessation intervention than females from other RCSGs. It has been postulated that the low smoking cessation rates among African-American female light smokers may be due to the lack of appropriate psychosocioculturally tailored cessation interventions that address issues of stress and coping that explain why they smoke and continue to smoke that may differ from their heavy smoker counterparts. The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether African-American female light smokers differed from their heavy smoker counterparts on psychosociocultural stress and coping factors. Findings revealed no differences in the sociodemographic variables of age, income, education and BMI; in the psychosociocultural measures of acculturative stress, race-related stress and coping; or in the smoking characteristics of menthol smoking status, coti nine level and CYP2A6 metabolic functioning between light and heavy smokers. However, the study found that African-American female light smokers take longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day, have a lower smoking risk, are more likely to quit, and exhibit lower carbon monoxide levels than African-American female heavy smokers. The current study suggests that other than the obvious factors of greater likelihood of quitting, lower smoking risk, longer latency to smoke and lower carbon monoxide levels, specific smoking cessation programs may not need to be differentially psychosocioculturally tailored for African-American female light smokers compared to their heavy-smoking counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1206
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support: this work was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse grant K12DA14040-04. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the position of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


  • African Americans
  • Tobacco
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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