The Surgeon General's report, Tobacco Use Among U.S.
Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups, was released on April 27, 1998. This
report is the first to focus on tobacco use among four U.S.
racial/ethnic minority groups: African Americans, American Indians
and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and
The five major conclusions in the report are
Cigarette smoking is a major cause of disease and death in each
of the four population groups studied in this report. African
Americans currently bear the greatest health burden. Differences in
the magnitude of disease risk are directly related to differences
in patterns of smoking.
Tobacco use varies within and among racial/ethnic minority
groups; among adults, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the
highest prevalence of tobacco use, and African American and
Southeast Asian men also have a high prevalence of smoking. Asian
American and Hispanic women have the lowest prevalence.
Among adolescents, cigarette smoking prevalence increased in the
1990s among African Americans and Hispanics after several years of
substantial decline among adolescents of all four racial/ethnic
minority groups. This increase is particularly striking among
African American youths, who had the greatest decline of the four
groups during the 1970s and 1980s.
No single factor determines patterns of tobacco use among
racial/ethnic minority groups; these patterns are the result of
complex interactions of multiple factors, such as socioeconomic
status, cultural characteristics, acculturation, stress, biological
elements, targeted advertising, price of tobacco products, and
varying capacities of communities to mount effective tobacco
Rigorous surveillance and prevention research are needed on the
changing cultural, psychosocial, and environmental factors that
influence tobacco use to improve our understanding of racial/ethnic
smoking patterns and identify strategic tobacco control
opportunities. The capacity of tobacco control efforts to keep pace
with patterns of tobacco use and cessation depends on timely
recognition of emerging prevalence and cessation patterns and the
resulting development of appropriate community-based programs to
address the factors involved.
Additional information about the report or a free copy of the
executive summary is available from CDC's National Center for
Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking
and Health, Mailstop K-50, 4770 Buford Highway, N.E., Atlanta, GA
30341-3724; telephone (770) 488-5705 (press 2); or World-Wide Web
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco. Faxed copies of the executive summary
may be obtained from the Office on Smoking and Health's fax
information system, telephone (800) 232-1311 and select "hot
topics." Copies of the full report (stock no. 017-001-00527-4) are
available for $20 from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9328; telephone
(202) 512-1800; fax (202) 512-1650. The executive summary of the
report will be published as an MMWR Recommendations and Reports.
US Department of Health and Human Services. Tobacco use among
U.S. racial/ethnic minority groups -- African Americans, American
Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,
and Hispanics: a report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia:
US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center
for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on
Smoking and Health, 1998.
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