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African Americans

Know the Facts

  • About one in five black adults in the United States smokes cigarettes.
  • Diseases from smoking kill more black Americans each year than car crashes, AIDS, murders, and drug and alcohol abuse combined.
  • Smoking cigarettes puts you at risk for heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death for blacks in the United States.

For More Information

  • Detailed Statistics Learn about smoking in specific populations and the current rates of cigarette smoking in the United States.

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Real Stories: African Americans Featured in Tips

Learn the real stories of African Americans who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.

 AnnetteMeet Annette. Annette, age 57, lives in New York and began smoking in her teens. At age 52, she was diagnosed with lung cancer, which required removal of one of her lungs. She was later diagnosed with oral cancer.


 JamasonMeet Jamason. Jamason, age 18, lives in Kentucky. He was an infant when he was diagnosed with asthma. When people smoke around him, the secondhand smoke can trigger life-threatening asthma attacks.


 JamesMeet James. James, age 48, lives in New York and began smoking at age 14. He quit smoking in 2010 to reduce his risk for health problems and now bikes 10 miles every day.


 MarieMeet Marie. Marie, age 62, lives in New York and began smoking in high school. Diagnosed with Buerger's disease in her forties, Marie has undergone amputations of part of her right foot, her left leg, and several fingertips.


 RooseveltMeet Roosevelt. Roosevelt, age 51, lives in Virginia and began smoking in his teens. At age 45, he had a heart attack. Doctors later placed stents in his heart and performed six bypasses.


 TiffanyMeet Tiffany. Tiffany, age 35, lives in Louisiana. She started smoking at 19, even though her mother, a smoker, died of lung cancer. Tiffany quit smoking — wanting to be around for her own teenage daughter.

Learn more about all Tips participants in our Real Stories section.

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Quitting Help

To get started right now, see our I'm Ready to Quit! area, featuring a Quit Guide and an additional Quitting Resources page.

You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Quitline coaches can answer questions, help you develop a quit plan, and provide support.

Medicare currently covers quit-smoking treatments. The benefit covers two tobacco cessation attempts per year and up to four face-to-face counseling sessions per attempt.

Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act expand private health insurance and Medicaid coverage of proven quit-smoking treatments.

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Roosevelt, an African American whose heart was damaged by smoking.

Roosevelt had a heart attack and six bypasses as a result of damage to his heart caused by smoking.

"A heart attack feels like a hand inside squeezing your heart. It's like the worst charley horse you can imagine—in your heart."


 

 I'm ready to quit! Free resources provided by Smokefree.gov

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