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Arline T. Geronimus photo

Age Patterns of Smoking among U.S. Black and White Women

Publication Abstract

Geronimus, Arline T., Lisa Neidert, and John Bound. "Age Patterns of Smoking among U.S. Black and White Women." PSC Research Report No. 91-232. December 1991.

This paper uses data from the 1987 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Cancer Supplement to descibe black/white differences in women's age patterns of smoking. Results indicate that white women initiate smoking younger than black women; white smokers are more likely to quit and to do so at young ages; despite lower proportions of black ever-smokers, the proportion of women who currently smoke converges between blacks and whites by age 25; and black/white differentials in ever smoking enlarge, while differences in quitting diminish, when results are education standardized. For black women, delayed smoking initiation and failure to quit call for new theoretical perspectives on smoking and age and interventions tailored to adults. These results have implications toward understanding black/white differences in low birthweight, child health, and adult morbidity.

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