PURPOSE: To examine differences in current smoking status and the number of cigarettes consumed daily between foreign and native-born African Americans, and the impact of demographic and socioeconomic status (SES) factors on smoking behavior. METHODS: Data were obtained from combining the 1990-1994 National Health Interview Surveys and consisted of 16,738 U.S. born and foreign-born African Americans between 18 and 64 years of age. The statistical analysis included cross-tabulations and weighted multiple logistic regression (MLR) using the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and the Survey Data Analysis (SUDAAN) computer programs. RESULTS: Adjusted MLR analysis revealed that native-born African Americans were more likely (odds ratio (OR) = 2.7, p < 0.001) to be current smokers than foreign-born blacks. Within the native-born group, smoking prevalence decreased with increasing education and income, but these associations were not found for foreign-born blacks. Women in both groups were less likely than men to be current smokers. Statistically significant differences were not found between the two groups in the number of cigarettes smoked per day. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis of nativity and smoking behavior further demonstrates the social diversity among African Americans and suggests the differential impact of social and cultural factors on smoking behavior within racially classified social groups. In areas where there are substantial numbers of foreign-born blacks, researchers should consider differentiating smoking status by nativity. Though differences in smoking prevalence were apparent for native and foreign-born American Americans, prevention and cessation programs are needed for both groups.
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