Percentages of African-American high school seniors who smoke remain statistically similar since 1992, according to the a new paper published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. At the same time, African-American adult smokers are more prone to continue the habit as they get older, in comparison with white smokers. 

Researchers have found that 8.7 percent of African-American high school seniors smoked cigarettes in 1992. New statistics from 2014 have shown an increase of 0.3 percent. Nearly 18 of every 100 non-Hispanic Blacks (17.5 percent), smoke cigarettes in the United States, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On Sunday morning, Senator Ed Hernandez said that the new bill is a great change for California. Credit: Metro Focus

Numbers demonstrate that the smoking trend has remained stable during the last 22 years among African-American high school seniors. Gary Giovino, a professor at the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, explained that the tobacco industry has made an effort to prevail among this segment.

“That the decline has stalled in the last 22 years is, to me, very sad news. I think it’s about the industry working really hard to keep this market. We always knew that could be an issue, but this is the first time we’ve ever had data on it,” Giovino said.

Results would appear to show that it’s harder for African-American adults to quit smoking, in comparison with white smokers, even when blacks start smoking later, according to a press release published by the University of Buffalo.

Phillip Gardiner of the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program, University of California Office of the President, proposes that the country should duplicate efforts and allocate more resources for prevention and cessation of smoking among the African-American community.

Menthol-flavored cigarettes are a “tragedy” for African-American smokers

The authors suggest that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should prohibit menthol cigarettes, which are the favorite and the most sold in African-American neighborhoods. In fact, more than 80 percent of black smokers consume these products.

“The predatory marketing of menthol and other candy-flavored tobacco products to African-Americans over the past 50 years is a tragedy. A major step in fighting smoking health disparities would be for the FDA to ban the use of menthol in tobacco products.”

California is about to become the second U.S. state to raise legal age to smoke

On Sunday morning, Senator Ed Hernandez said that the new bill is a great change for California, to reduce the “big tobacco’s ability to target and poison youth”, adding that benefits will come to children and the overall health of the state.

Tobacco use is the main cause of preventable death in the country, with 34,000 Californians dying every year, said the California State Senate in a press release issued Sunday.

The new tobacco bill was signed by governor Jerry Brown and will take effect on January 1, 2017. The Institute of Medicine has calculated that increasing the smoking age from 18 to 21 years, will result in 200,000 fewer premature deaths for generations born between 2000 and 2019.

Currently, tobacco use generates direct costs of $3.5 billion, to the Medi-Call system every year. In 2017, California will become the second state to raise smoking age to 21 years, after Hawaii. At the same time, 130 local municipalities in the country have taken similar measures, said the California Sate Senate.

Source: University at Buffalo