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New Study Highlights Disparities in Helping Smokers Quit, Importance of Funding Tobacco Control Efforts, CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers Campaign

(August 4, 2016) -

For more information please contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

A new study highlights that some racial and ethnic groups in the United States continue to face a disproportionate burden of tobacco use and tobacco-related illness. The study released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) examines adult smoking rates and disparities among certain populations in the U.S., and while there were decreases in the smoking rate among many groups, not all Americans saw these benefits.

"Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and while we're pleased to see reductions in the smoking rate across many adult populations, we must do more to continue to reduce tobacco use and improve the health of all Americans," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "There is an urgent need for investments in helping smokers quit, including support from Congress for the CDC's successful Tips From Former Smokers campaign."

Published in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the "Disparities in Adult Cigarette Smoking — United States, 2002-2005 and 2010-2013" article looks at disparities among certain racial and ethnic populations, including sub-groups within these populations, over two different time periods. The report found the cigarette smoking rate in some of these populations was much higher than the 2010-2013 national average of 23.7 percent. Eight of the groups had no significant decrease in cigarette use over this period: American Indians/Alaska Natives, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Puerto Ricans and Cubans. In addition to the smoking rates not improving, American Indians/Alaska Natives and Puerto Ricans had the highest rates at 38.9 and 28.5 percent, respectively, highlighting the need for additional targeted public health interventions. The report found a decrease in the smoking rate among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, Asian Indians, Mexicans and Central or South Americans.

In addition to the disparities in smoking rates highlighted in this study, other research has found high smoking rates in other populations including those with a lower socioeconomic status, people who live in rural locales, individuals with behavioral health issues and the LGBT community.

"We have made tremendous progress against tobacco addiction and the smoking rate is half of what it was in 1964, but not everyone has benefited equally," Wimmer said. "Some groups have been historically underserved with tobacco control efforts, and as a result now have a higher smoking rate than the general population. It's important to address these disparities so we can prevent and reduce tobacco-related illnesses in all parts of our society."

This study emphasizes the urgent need for continued smoking cessation support among these populations and nationwide, according to Wimmer.

"We call on Congress to fund the CDC Office on Smoking and Health's tobacco prevention and cessation efforts in states and among all populations at the full $210 million," he said. "This includes support for the CDC's successful Tips From Former Smokers campaign, which studies have proven helps smokers to seek help with quitting through sharing the stories of African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and many other priority populations."

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628. 


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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