Introduction: Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature deaths in the U.S., accounting for approximately 443,000 deaths annually. Although smoking prevalence in recent decades has declined substantially among all racial/ethnic groups, disparities in smoking-related behaviors among racial/ethnic groups continue to exist. Two of the goals of Healthy People 2020 are to reduce smoking prevalence among adults to 12% or less and to increase smoking cessation attempts by adult smokers from 41% to 80%. Our study assesses whether correlates of quit attempts vary by race/ethnicity among adult (≥ 18 years) smokers in the U.S. Understanding racial/ethnic differences in how both internal and external factors affect quit attempts is important for targeting smoking-cessation interventions to decrease tobacco-use disparities.
Methods: We used 2003 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) data from 16,213 adults to examine whether the relationship between demographic characteristics, smoking behaviors, smoking policies and having made a quit attempt in the past year varied by race/ethnicity.
Results: Hispanics and persons of multiple races were more likely to have made a quit attempt than whites. Overall, younger individuals and those with >high school education, who smoked fewer cigarettes per day and had smoked for fewer years were more likely to have made a quit attempt. Having a smoke-free home, receiving a doctor's advice to quit, smoking menthol cigarettes and having a greater time to when you smoked your first cigarette of the day were also associated with having made a quit attempt. The relationship between these four variables and quit attempts varied by race/ethnicity; most notably receiving a doctor's advice was not related to quit attempts among Asian American/Pacific Islanders and menthol use among whites was associated with a lower prevalence of quit attempts while black menthol users were more likely to have made a quit attempt than white non-menthol users.
Conclusions: Most correlates of quit attempts were similar across all racial/ethnic groups. Therefore population-based comprehensive tobacco control programs that increase quit attempts and successful cessation among all racial/ethnic groups should be continued and expanded. Additional strategies may be needed to encourage quit attempts among less educated, older, and more addicted smokers.
Keywords: smoking; smoking cessation; smoking quit attempts; tobacco use.