Are the correlates of cigarette smoking initiation different for black and white adolescents?

Am J Public Health. 1991 Jul;81(7):854-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.81.7.854.


Background: Studies of adolescent smoking suggest that the causes of smoking initiation may differ for Blacks and Whites.

Methods: Correlates of smoking initiation were examined among 1,277 nonsmokers, ages 12-14, who completed questionnaires in their homes. The analyses examined relationships between smoking initiation and 11 explanatory variables using logistic regression with the combined sample and with Black and White samples.

Results: Over two years, 24 percent of Whites and 14 percent of Blacks started to smoke. Whites were more likely to start smoking at age 12 and Blacks at age 14. Having a best friend who smoked increased the odds of initiating smoking over twofold for Whites but had no effect on the odds of smoking for Blacks.

Conclusions: Whites initiate smoking earlier than Blacks and are more likely to be influenced by friend behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology
  • Peer Group
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Religion
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Southeastern United States / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • White People / psychology*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data