Black Teens Need Tailored Smoking Programs
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - African-American youths who want to quit smoking may benefit from culturally specific smoking cessation programs, researchers suggest. Such programs may take into consideration the disproportionate harm that smoking causes to t
``Ethno-racial differences in vulnerability to tobacco addiction, even during the teenage years, might explain the differential health impact,'' Dr. Eric T. Moolchan, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Program, told Reuters Health.
Moolchan and his colleagues analyzed data from 115 youths who responded to media ads for a teen smoking cessation program. Thirty-one of the respondents were African American and 84 were non-African American.
The African-American teens were significantly older and smoked fewer cigarettes--particularly on weekends--than their non-African American peers, the authors report in a recent issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association.
Also, the African-American teens had lower scores on a test designed to measure nicotine addiction, but were just as motivated to quit as the non-African American youths. This suggests that their lower addiction scores might not mean that they were less dependent, but might reflect differences in the way nicotine is metabolized.
``Given the potential differences in the metabolic profile of nicotine among ethnic groups, we suggest that use of an awareness-based instrument, in addition to other measures of dependence, might provide clinicians with clearer and more useful diagnoses of nicotine dependence,'' Moolchan said.
Dr. Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, added in a statement: ``African-American youth may be in danger of experiencing the negative effects of tobacco earlier in their smoking histories, and assessments and interventions need to be tailored to their specific needs.''
Even if socioeconomic status played a role in the discrepancies, the study findings ``still support intensifying the establishment of programs that will stimulate participation of African-American youth in smoking prevention and cessation,'' Moolchan and his team conclude.