The purpose of this study was to describe age patterns of smoking among Black and White women of reproductive age, with cohort membership controlled for. Data from the 1987 National Health Interview Survey Cancer Supplement, weighted to be nationally rep resentative, were used to calculate the fractions of women who were ever smokers, quitters, and current smokers by age and race. Summary distribution of age patterns of smoking behaviors by race were estimated; proportional hazard models were used to avoid confounding of age of cohort. Results showed that White women begin smoking at younger ages than do Blacks but are more likely to quit and to do so at young ages. Rates of current smoking converge between Blacks and Whites by age 25, and may cross o ver by 30. Education-standardized results show larger Black-White differentials in ever smoking and smaller differences in quitting. These findings confirm that women's age patterns of smoking vary by race. Age x race interactions should be considered in smoking research and anti-tobacco interventions. For Black women, delayed initiation and failure to quit call for increased emphasis on interventions tailored to adults. These findings have possible implications for understanding Black-White differen ces in low birthweight, child health, and women's health.
PMCID: PMC1694982. (Pub Med Central)