Associations between Perceived Racial Discrimination and Tobacco Cessation among Diverse Treatment Seekers

Ethn Dis. 2020 Jul 9;30(3):411-420. doi: 10.18865/ed.30.3.411. eCollection 2020 Summer.


Objectives: This study investigated a) racial/ethnic differences in past-year discrimination experiences and b) associations between discrimination and smoking abstinence.

Design: Prospective, longitudinal analysis of smoking status. Perceived past-year discrimination was assessed at baseline. ANCOVAs and intent-to-treat hierarchical logistic regressions were conducted.

Setting: Dual-site (Tampa, FL and Miami, FL) randomized controlled trial testing the effects of a group cessation intervention plus pharmacotherapy.

Participants: Treatment-seeking adult smokers (N=347; non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic African American/Black, or Hispanic).

Main outcome measures: Biochemically verified 7-day point prevalence abstinence (7-day ppa) was assessed immediately post-intervention and at 6-month follow-up.

Results: After controlling for covariates, African Americans/Blacks reported greater perceived discrimination compared with non-Hispanic Whites (P=.02), and Hispanics (P=.06). Non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics did not differ in perceived racial/ethnic discrimination experiences over the past year. Irrespective of race/ethnicity, past-year perceived discrimination was inversely associated with 7-day ppa, both post-intervention (AOR=.97, CI: .95-.99) and at 6-months (AOR=.98, CI: .96-.99). Among African Americans/Blacks, past-year perceived discrimination was inversely associated with 7-day ppa, both post-intervention (AOR=.95, CI: .92-.97) and at 6-months (AOR=.97, CI: .94-.99). Perceived discrimination was unrelated to 7-day ppa among Hispanics. Among non-Hispanic Whites, past-year perceived discrimination was inversely associated with post-intervention 7-day ppa (AOR=.95, CI: .91-.99), but not 6-months.

Conclusions: Perceived racial/ethnic discrimination was greater among African American/Black smokers compared with non-Hispanic Whites. Perceived discrimination was negatively associated with tobacco cessation in the full sample, and for African Americans at 6-months post-intervention. These data have implications for intervention delivery and health disparities.

Keywords: African Americans; Ethnic Discrimination; Hispanics; Racial Discrimination; Smoking Cessation; Tobacco.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ethnicity* / psychology
  • Ethnicity* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Racism* / ethnology
  • Racism* / prevention & control
  • Racism* / psychology
  • Smokers* / psychology
  • Smokers* / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Perception / ethnology*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation* / ethnology
  • Tobacco Use Cessation* / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology