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Disparities in Adult Cigarette Smoking — United States, 2002–2005 and 2010–2013

August 5, 2016 / Vol. 65 / 30

MMWR Introduction

Although cigarette smoking has declined significantly since the release of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, disparities in tobacco use varies among racial/ethnic populations. Moreover, estimates of U.S. adult cigarette smoking and tobacco use are usually limited to aggregate racial or ethnic population categories (non-Hispanic whites (whites), non-Hispanic blacks or African Americans (blacks), American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), Asians, Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders (NHPI), and Hispanics/Latinos; these estimates can mask differences in cigarette smoking prevalence among subgroups of these populations.

From the period 2002-2005 to 2010-2013, declines in cigarette smoking did not occur among all assessed racial/ethnic populations, and even among those in which a decline occurred, the relative change in smoking prevalence varied across these groups. The highest prevalence of cigarette smoking was observed among AI/ANs, for whom no decline was observed during the assessed period; in addition, no significant changes were observed among Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Puerto Rican, and Cuban adults. Although substantial progress has been made in reducing overall cigarette smoking prevalence among U.S. adults, disparities exist among racial/ethnic populations, including disproportionately higher smoking prevalence in some racial/ethnic populations and subgroups, and wide within-group variations.

Reducing the overall prevalence of cigarette smoking among U.S. adults to the Healthy People 2020 target of 12% or less can be achieved through the implementation and enforcement of evidence-based tobacco control initiatives. Proven interventions, including increasing the price of tobacco products, coupled with evidence-based cessation services, comprehensive smoke-free policies, high-impact media campaigns, and promotion of cessation treatment in clinical settings, are effective in reducing tobacco use and tobacco-related disease and death in all racial/ethnic populations. If implemented and enforced, these interventions could also reduce tobacco-related disparities.