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African Americans and Tobacco

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in our country, killing 480,000 Americans and 6,500 Louisianans each year. But smoking doesn’t just kill; it leads to illness and diseases that cause long-term suffering for smokers and their families. Learn the truth about the impact of tobacco use on African Americans.

Know the Facts

  • About one in five African American adults in the United States smokes cigarettes.1
  • Diseases from smoking kill more African Americans each year than car crashes, AIDS, murders, and drug and alcohol abuse combined.1
  • Smoking cigarettes puts you at risk for heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death for African Americans in the United States.1
  • Advertisement and promotion of certain tobacco products appear to be targeted to members of racial/minority communities.2,3
  • The tobacco industry has targeted African American communities in its advertisements and promotional efforts for menthol cigarettes (e.g., campaigns that use urban culture and language to promote menthol cigarettes, tobacco-sponsored hip-hop bar nights with samples of specialty menthol cigarettes, targeted direct-mail promotions). 2,3

Learn more about African Americans and Tobacco

You Can Quit

If you smoke or use tobacco, quitting is the most important thing you can do to improve your health and quality of life. Quitting is not easy, and it can take several attempts to stop smoking for good. But YOU CAN QUIT, and free help is available to support you through the process.

Free Help to Quit

Louisiana Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW
  • Free phone or web counseling with Certified Quit Coaches
  • Set a quit date and develop a personalized quit plan
  • Free Nicotine Gum or Patches
Smoking Cessation Trust (504)529-5665 or (855)259-6346
  • Free program for Louisiana residents who started smoking before September 1, 1998‘¨
  • Telephone coaching and support‘¨
  • Smoking cessation medications prescribed by your physician
  • Group Cessation Counseling
  • Limited physician visit coverage for brief intervention & medication counseling
LSU Tobacco Control Initiative (TCI) (504) 903-5059
  • Free group counseling with Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists‘¨
  • Medication available‘¨
  • A program of LSU Health Science Center-New Orleans School of Public Health


2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2012 [accessed 2014 October 15].

3National Cancer Institute. The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use. [PDF’“6.35 MB] Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 2008 [accessed 2014 October 15].

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Share Your Quit Story

Everyone's quit story is different. What works for one, might not always work for another. So we want you to share your success story (and your struggles) with us, so that you can help motivate and encourage others to quit.

Please tell us your story...