Research Finds Black Youth in Public Housing Are More Likely to Take Up Smoking

While cigarette smoking has declined among all ethnic groups, each day about 4,000 youngsters will try a cigarette for the first time and 25 percent of these youths will become regular smokers.

Research published in the journal Addictive Behaviors has found that for African American youths, those who live in public housing projects are 2.3 times more likely to take up smoking than other African American adolescents. Youths in these communities may be exposed to more stress than other youths due to higher crime rates, gang activity, and higher rates of poverty.

Mansoo Yu, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Missouri and a co-author of the study, states, “Smoking cessation programs for young African Americans living in public housing communities should focus on reversing their positive attitudes toward tobacco use. Early interventions are critical for these individuals since the likelihood of being exposed to risky behaviors increases as the children age.”

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