Pittsburgh Study Finds White Teens Smoke More, Sooner, Than African Americans

Understanding racial differences in developmental trajectories of cigarette smoking

Researchers from the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University analyzed longitudinal data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study to compare patterns of cigarette smoking over time among African-American and White males from childhood to young adulthood.

Key Findings

The researchers reported the following findings in an article in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence:

  • Whites begin using tobacco earlier than African Americans, and tend to be heavier users.
  • There were racial differences in the timing and rapidity of the development of regular smoking over time.

In a chapter in Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health and Health Care, they reported:

  • The same factors were associated with higher smoking rates for African Americans and whites at all ages: delinquent peers, school performance and delinquency.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $125,274 in an unsolicited grant to fund the project from March 2002 through August 2004.