The Racial Gap in Teenage Smoking Rates Has Declined But Blacks Still Smoke Less

mtflogoEach year, the Monitoring the Future program surveys 50,000 students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade on smoking, alcohol, drug use, and other behaviors. The Monitoring the Future Study is funded under a series of investigator-initiated competing research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health. The research is conducted at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Survey results show an encouraging trend in cigarette smoking among American teenagers. In 2013, only 16.3 percent of American teenagers in 12th grade reporting smoking cigarettes over the past 30 days. This is down from 24.4 percent a decade ago.

Over the past two decades, Black smoking rates have remained relatively constant while the White rate has declined significantly. But Black high school seniors still are significantly less likely to smoke than their White peers. In 2013, only 9.6 percent of African Americans in 12th grade reported smoking cigarettes in the 30 days prior to the survey compared to 19.4 of White high schools seniors.

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