African-Americans Less Likely to Ban Smoking at Home

The Medical News, September 28, 2010

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“African-American homes have fewer full bans, and more people are allowed to smoke in those homes,” said Jessica Muilenburg, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of health promotion and behavior at the University of Georgia.

The study appears in the August issue of the journal Health Education & Behavior.

{snip} About three quarters of the teens surveyed were African-American; nearly one quarter were white.

Sixty-one percent of teens reported having smoking bans at home that disallowed any smoking; 32 percent of teens noted they were not allowed to smoke at home although adults were; and 7 percent of teens reported no restrictions on smoking at home. {snip}

Overall, about 66 percent of white parents banned smoking at home completely, compared with 60 percent of African American parents.

“More people are allowed to smoke in those homes and, although it didn’t seem to translate into behavior, it did look like quitting and the attempts to quit smoking were not as high as in our white sample. So ultimately, even though they wanted to quit as much as whites, black teens were less likely to make an attempt,” Muilenburg said.

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Although African-American homes might be less likely to ban smoking at home, Unger said that African-American adolescents in general are much less likely to smoke than white teens, a finding supported by this study.

“Some studies have shown that African-American parents impose stricter discipline on their children and make more absolute rules about substance use, whereas white parents are more likely to allow their children to experiment with smoking and make their own decisions,” Unger said. {snip}

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[“The home smoking environment: Influence on behaviors and attitudes in a racially diverse adolescent population,” by Mujilenburg, et al., can be downloaded as a PDF file here. There is a charge.]

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