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Study Targets Factors in Quitting Smoking

July 26, 2002|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Seven in 10 adult smokers in the United States say they want to quit--but their success in kicking the habit varies widely by race and education, the government said Thursday.

A study of more than 32,000 adults in 2000 found that about 23.3% were smokers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. That was down slightly from 25% in 1993.

Among those defined as smokers--people who had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lives and still smoke regularly--70% said they would like to quit.

But the study revealed broad demographic gaps: Of whites who smoked at some point in their lives, 51% were able to quit, compared with 37% of blacks, 43% of Latinos and 45% of Asian Americans.

The success rate for quitting generally rose by education level. Fewer than half of high school dropouts said they had smoked and quit, compared with 64% of college graduates and 74% of people with graduate degrees.

There was a similar trend when researchers broke down the results by income. Roughly half of people at or above the poverty line had quit smoking, compared with just one-third below the line.

The CDC said the cost of anti-smoking medication and unequal access to quality health care that includes anti-tobacco counseling probably accounts for the gap.

The drop in overall smoking since 1993 is significant, the CDC said. But health officials have a long way to go: They want to see the rate drop to 12% by 2010.

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