CDC Data on Blacks and Tobacco 

There were over 40 million African Americans in the United States in 2016—approximately 13% of the U.S. population.Although African Americans usually smoke fewer cigarettes and start smoking cigarettes at an older age, they are more likely to die from smoking-related diseases than Whites.

African American children and adults are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke than any other racial or ethnic group.

  • During 2013-2014, secondhand smoke exposure was found in:
    • 66.1% of African American children aged 3–11 years.
    • 55.3% of African American adolescents aged 12–19 years.
    • 45.5% of African American adults aged 20 years and older.
  • African American nonsmokers generally have higher cotinine levels (an indicator of recent exposure to tobacco smoke) than nonsmokers of other races/ethnicities.


  1. New Mexico Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System(BRFSS) 2018 Annual Report  
  2. Approximate number of Blacks/African Americans in NM who smoke is 15.5% 
  3. In 2018, 15.2% of New Mexico adults were current smokers. This was lower than the U.S. median prevalence (16.1%).
  4. Males (17.3%) reported a significantly higher prevalence of current smoking than females (13.2%).
  5. Tobacco & New Mexico’s Indicator-Based Information System (NM-IBIS) 
  6. The prevalence of current cigarette smoking among New Mexico and U.S. high school youth has decreased dramatically in the past decade, New Mexico’s youth cigarette smoking rate in 2017 (10.6%) is at an all-time low, and it is statistically similar to that in the U.S. (8.8%). Both the New Mexico and U.S. youth cigarette smoking prevalence have met and surpassed the Healthy People 2020 goal of 16.0%.
  7. The use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, has recently emerged as a new public health concern. Although scientists are still learning about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, we do know most contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent and young adult brain development. The aerosol in e-cigarettes contains nicotine, cancer-causing chemicals, and tiny particles that can reach deep into the lungs. According to the National Academies of Science (2018), there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes among youth and young adults.
  8. As of 2017, e-cigarette use (24.7%) among high school youth in NM has significantly outpaced the use of combustible cigarettes (10.6%). Although there have been significant declines in combustible cigarette use among youth, the emergence of e-cigarettes and the risks for nicotine addiction requires attention both through public health prevention and policy efforts.
  9. NM Quit Now Data link