Smoking in young adult African Americans

Pamela R. Jones, Marlene Z. Cohen, Helen E. McIlvain, Mohammad Siahpush, Alexis Scott, Kingsley Okafor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


AIM: The aim of this study was to describe factors that influence decisions of young African Americans to start smoking.

BACKGROUND: Young adult African Americans have a high risk for becoming regular smokers, but little is understood about their smoking. This knowledge is needed because understanding young adults' smokers will help develop effective tobacco cessation and prevention strategies.

DESIGN: Qualitative study.

METHOD: The study consisted of 22 in-depth interviews with African Americans between the ages of 19-25. Data were collected between 2009-2010. Smokers, former smokers and non-smokers were included.

RESULTS/FINDINGS: Results indicated that smoking identity of young adults was influenced by their limited and discounted knowledge of health risks and the stigma associated with the type of tobacco smoked. The importance of cost was discussed as was the effect of smoking on relationships and vice versa. Marijuana was the primary reason they started smoking tobacco. Their transition into adulthood and views of smoking, adulthood and success all influenced smoking. Additionally, self-reflection on personal choices around smoking was important and may be useful in effective smoking cessation programmes for this group.

CONCLUSION: Nurses are in an ideal position to promote effective smoking cessation in young adults. Direct, culturally relevant messages are needed that fit into the context of the young adults' lives by addressing concurrent use of marijuana, self-esteem and success in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1127
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of advanced nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2014


  • African Americans
  • cancer prevention
  • health disparities
  • marijuana
  • qualitative research
  • smoking
  • tobacco use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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