Tobacco-Related Disparities: Black/African Americans

While Black/African Americans usually smoke fewer cigarettes and start smoking at an older age than their white counterparts, they are more likely to die from smoking-related diseases than whites.

This can be due to several factors, including:

  • culturally specific, predatory marketing from the tobacco industry;
  • bias from medical providers, which can result in Black/African Americans being offered, and using, tobacco cessation services and nicotine replacement therapy less often; and
  • higher use of menthol/flavored tobacco products, which are harder to quit.

The following resources provide more information about the history of commercial tobacco use and quit tobacco efforts with Black/African Americans.

If you are interested in participating in future collaborative efforts to reduce commercial tobacco use among Black/African Americans within our state, please contact us at 517-335-8376.


  • Smoking and Tobacco Use in African Americans in Michigan, 2020PDF document (MDHHS)
  • African Americans and Tobacco Use (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC])
  • African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) - Based out of San Francisco, CA, AATCLC is a coalition of community stakeholders, elected officials, and public health agencies that informs the national direction of tobacco control policy, practices and priorities as they affect the lives of Black-American and African immigrant populations.
  • Center for Black Health & Equity (formerly the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network) - One of eight designated national networks under the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. The center provides tobacco control leadership in the African American community, including expert comment, research, and education that have resulted in cities and institutions adopting smoke-free policies and flavor restrictions.
  • Urban League of West Michigan - Traditionally an African American organization, the Urban League assists all people in achieving self-sufficiency and equality. One of its initiatives, Please Stop Smoking Today (PSST I Love You), promotes quitting tobacco in the Black/African American community.
  • Black Lives/Black Lungs documentary - Black Lives/Black Lungs is a short film investigating the tobacco industry's successful infiltration into the black community. Created by filmmaker and progressive communications strategist, Lincoln Mondy.

The Michigan Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) can provide support for individuals who want to quit smoking.

For additional resources and webinars, please visit our MDHHS Tobacco Control Program Online Tobacco Resource Library page.

More data and reports related to commercial tobacco use and quitting rates can be found on our Data & Statistics About Tobacco in Michigan webpage.

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