WASHINGTON—Black U.S. teenagers get a much bigger hit of addictive nicotine from a cigarette than do their white classmates, researchers said on Friday.
This may explain why black youths smoke fewer cigarettes, on average, than white teens but suggests smoking may be more dangerous for them, the team at the National Institute on Drug Abuse said.
“Previous research in adults showed that black smokers take in 30 percent more nicotine per cigarette and take longer to rid their bodies of the drug, compared to white smokers,” NIDA Dr. Nora Volkow said in a statement.
Although black teens smoked only 15 cigarettes per day on average to nearly 20 a day for the whites, the blacks had more of a chemical in their blood called cotinine. Cotinine is produced when the body breaks down nicotine and the finding confirmed their bodies clear nicotine more slowly, the researchers said.