Smoking in urban African Americans: Behaviors, gender differences, and motivation to quit

Malaika N. Woods, Kari Jo Harris, Jasjit S. Ahluwalia, Kristin H. Schmelzle, Matthew S. Mayo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: This study describes smoking behaviors and gender differences, and correlates these factors with motivation to quit smoking among African-American smokers at a community-based health center. Design: A 62-item survey assessed depression, hassles, readiness to change, and demographics. Methods: Participants (N = 81) were interviewed in an adult clinic waiting room. Results: On average, participants smoked 13 cigarettes per day. Many reported attempts to reduce smoking-related health risks: 46% switched brands, 57% reduced their smoking, and 19% smoked only on some days. Fifty-nine percent indicated depressive symptoms. For women vs men, noteworthy differences were: reduction in number of cigarettes smoked (66.7% vs 40.0%; P=.023), switching brands (58.8% vs 23.3%; P=.003), number of attempts to quit in the past year (2.7 vs 1.2; P=.034), and high concern about weight gain (52.9% vs 26.7%; P=.047). Cigarettes smoked per day was negatively correlated with motivation to quit (P=.022). Variables positively correlated with motivation to quit included: harm reduction strategies (P=.002), intention to quit in 30 days (P<.0001), and intention to quit in 6 months (P<.0001). Conclusions: Women showed more potential indications of readiness to quit, including more attempts to quit, reductions in number of cigarette smoked, and brand switching. Knowledge of cessation barriers, gender differences, and correlates to motivation may prove useful for investigators conducting research in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-539
Number of pages8
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001


  • Blacks
  • Men
  • Motivation
  • Smoking
  • Women


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