Congress logo
Back to Conference page

The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 1:45 PM

Populations Disparity: Eliminating Black-White Tobacco-Use Disparities in the United States

Robert G. Robinson, Dr.P.H., Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, N.E. (K-50), Atlanta, GA 30341

Objective: African Americans used cigarettes at higher levels than whites since the 1950's. Targeted efforts to reduce tobacco-use prevalence began in the mid 1980's and relied on principles of community competence and community development. Pathways to Freedom, a cessation program developed specifically for the black community was developed and disseminated. National Networks were developed in 1993. Advocacy counter marketing campaigns began in 1990 and continued throughout the decade.

Methods: Epidemiologic trends using prevalence data from the National Health Interview Surveys were assessed for specific age cohorts and population(s) comparing blacks and whites. The rate of change for 1990-2001 was calculated. Program initiatives, both national and state-based were reviewed. Communication and advocacy campaigns were assessed.

Results: The black-white disparity in tobacco-use prevalence was eliminated in 2001. The rate of decrease from 1990-2001 for blacks was two times greater than for whites. This result was not dependent on the historically lower smoking rates among black youth compared to whites. Community development was evident in the increased involvement of churches and community-based organizations in the black community, stimulated in part by their access to Pathways to Freedom. Successful advocacy campaigns occurred because of the linkage of national networks with statewide networks and/or community-based organizations. Initiatives were effective because of reliance on principles associated with community development and community competence. In 2001, if the rate of decrease for blacks had been the same as whites for the past decade, approximately 368,285 adult blacks would have continued to smoke.