Dual smokers have different profile

Jan. 22, 2012 at 9:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Dual smokers -- people who smoke cigarettes and cigars -- fit a different profile than cigarette-only smokers, a U.S. public health organization says.

Legacy, a public health organization dedicated to helping people quit smoking or never start, showed adult smokers who indicated they use both cigarettes and cigars -- 12.5 percent -- were more likely to be young, African-American, male, of low educational attainment and unemployed compared with cigarette-only smokers.

"While this data is disturbing, it is not surprising," Amanda Richardson, director for research and evaluation at Legacy, said in a statement. "Previous research has shown that cigars and cigarillos are already on the rise among young adults, especially as lower prices and sweet flavors may add to their appeal. In addition, minority and underserved populations that are most at-risk for dual use are those same populations that often bear a disproportionate brunt of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality."

For example, African-American males experience higher rates of lung cancer, although they tend to smoke fewer cigarettes per day than other groups. Those with less than a high school education have higher smoking rates and lower quit rates than smokers with a high school degree or higher.

Notably, because dual users are less likely to be daily smokers and more likely to use other tobacco products, cessation interventions might be less successful, as physicians might underestimate their overall tobacco use, Richardson said.

The study was published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

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