WV Division of Tobacco Prevention
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WV Division of Tobacco Prevention

African American Tobacco Cessation

African American Tobacco Prevention Initiative

Smoking has established itself as a health issue of major concern in the African American community. Currently, about one in five of all African American adults smoke, and about one in ten African American high school students are current smokers. In addition, smoking related illnesses are the number one cause of death in the African American community, surpassing all other causes of death, including Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), homicide, diabetes and accidents.

Despite these high smoking rates among African Americans, research has shown that African American smokers tend to think that smoking is socially unacceptable, and are highly motivated to quit. In fact, 70% of current African American smokers want to quit. Unfortunately, African American smokers face many barriers to smoking cessation, including high levels of nicotine dependence.

African Americans in WV Current Cigarette Smoking

•65,813 African Americans in WV.

•Black Current Cigarette Smoking: 21.4% - compared to 20.8% in USA.


  • In 2019, approximately 85% of non-Hispanic Black or African American adults who smoked used menthol cigarettes.
  • Despite starting to smoke later and smoking fewer packs per day, African Americans who smoke menthol successfully quit smoking at a lower rate than non-menthol smoking African Americans.
  • Research shows that if menthol cigarettes were banned nationally, 44.5% of African Americans who smoke menthol would try to quit.5

 CDC has published State facts sheets on the use of Menthol Click here to see the specific WV fact Sheet.

 West Virginia African American Tobacco Prevention Network [WVAATPN]

The WV African American Tobacco Prevention Network has received grant funding from the Division of Tobacco Prevention to provide tobacco cessation and education in the African American Communities.  The purpose of this grant is to build the capacity of the African American community to address tobacco prevention and cessation efforts at the grassroots level by partnering with faith-based and community-based organizations to carry out evidence-based programming that targets explicitly high population areas with African Americans; and Increase tobacco cessation attempts among African American tobacco users. The Network, housed at the McDowell County Commission on Aging, is managed by Rhonda Robinson, Coordinator, and Shanita Evans, Assistant Coordinator. Please do not hesiitate to contact the Coordinators for more information.


Addressing Tobacco Use in the African American Community - American Lung Association Publication.

African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC)

Tobacco Use in the African American Community. The Truth Initiative.

Tobacco Use Among African Americans. A Fact Sheet provided by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

The Center for Black Health & Equity

CDC - African Americans and Tobacco Use

University of California San Francisco Smoking Cessation Leadership Center - Race/Ethnicity

Tobacco Free Life - Smoking, Race and Ethnicity: Tobacco Use and African Americans

350 Capitol Street | Room 514 | Charleston, WV 25301 | Phone: 304-352-6007
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