African-Americans Phone It In to Stop Smoking

African-Americans are more likely to use quit lines to stop smoking.

Posted: 05/03/2011 02:44 PM EDT
Stop Smoking

African-American smokers have been found to be more likely than white smokers to take advantage of telephone help lines to quit smoking, according to a California study.


Approximately 61,096 Black smokers and 279,042 white smokers who had previously used the state quit line participated in the study, which used data from the past 18 years. The volunteers were asked what made them call the quit line, and most said media outlets like radio, television and Internet, doctors, friends, family, nonprofits and churches.


Blacks were between 44 and 140 percent more likely to use their state's quit line compared to whites, who were 10 percent less likely to call in five out of six of the study periods. African-Americans have a harder time quitting, which is believed to have to do with the fact that Blacks are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes, which has the same effect as anesthesia on the throat, allowing smokers to inhale more nicotine. 


Quit lines help more than half a million people every year. The programs are anonymous, free and easy to use. All you have to do is call your state's toll-free number and give your address, and a package of nicotine patches will be sent to your door; some state programs even offer phone counseling as well. Every state has a quit line and all programs are aligned with the Surgeon General's most recent guidelines on dealing with tobacco use and dependence.


To find out more about how to quit smoking or to find a quit line in your state, visit


(Photo:Peter Byrne/Landov)