New Study: Blacks Using Less Tobacco Products

A new study finds a shift in tobacco use by Black men and teens.

Posted: 08/01/2011 07:00 PM EDT

A new study suggests that “alternative” tobacco products may soon surpass cigarettes as the most commonly used by young African-American men.


The study, published in the August issue of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, found that 46 percent of the men surveyed have used marijuana, blunts and mini-cigars in lieu of tobacco. The study surveyed African-American males, aged 19 to 30, in five of the Black Belt counties of rural Alabama. 


"These counties are predominantly African-American, among the poorest counties in the US, and are characterized by striking health disparities when compared to the remainder of the state and the nation as a whole," wrote study author William Carroll, MD.


While the tobacco-related disease burden is higher in African-American adults compared to whites, prevalence rates of tobacco use among African-American teens are lower than those reported for whites, the study found, citing data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer kills more African-Americans than any other cancer. Between 2003 and 2007, Black men were 23 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than white men, yet that number has decreased in recent decades. Overall, the American Cancer Society predicts a decline in lung cancer deaths in African-American men over the next 40 to 50 years.

(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)