African Americans

Smoking-related illnesses are the number one cause of death in the African American community, causing around 45,000 deaths per year. And even though African American smokers tend to smoke less, they are more likely to die from smoking than white smokers. No one knows the reason for this for sure, but it could be because African American smokers are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes, which may encourage deeper puffs that are held in the lungs longer.

African American smokers tend to think smoking is socially unacceptable and are highly motivated to quit.

If you are ready to quit, there are some programs and resources to help you quit.


QuitlineNC provides the counseling and support that can help you quit. They can send you materials in the mail and offer other tools to help you get started on your tobacco-free life.

Pathways to Freedom: Leading the Way to a Smoke-Free Community

Center for Black Health (The Center) has a Quit Smoking DVD especially for African Americans called Pathways to Freedom: Leading the Way to a Smoke-Free Community . Visit this page to order a DVD. Or you can sign up to get online

Additional quit-smoking tools for African Americans can be found elsewhere on The Center’s site.

"I enjoy seeing my patients' faces light up when I recommend the Pathways to Freedom strategy of using prayer and setting Dr. Martin Luther King Day as a quit date."
- Dr. Sharon Marable
Rhode Island Department of Health Providence, Rhode Island