Washington: A new study has observed that cigarette use among white teenagers is substantially higher than among black and Hispanic teenagers, especially at 18 years old.
According to Penn State researchers, alcohol and marijuana use are also higher in white teenagers, and the numbers continue to increase until age 20 and throughout their 20s, blacks and Hispanics are more likely to pick up a cigarette-smoking habit, while the numbers start to decrease for whites.
Study showed that at 18.5 years old, 44 percent of whites surveyed smoked cigarettes, 27 percent of Hispanics did and 18 percent of blacks, however, at 29 years old, 40 percent of whites were using cigarettes, 30 percent of Hispanics and 31 percent of blacks smoked.
Rebecca J. Evans-Polce, postdoctoral fellow, Bennett Pierce Prevention Center, said that the most important point was that there were big age-related differences in substance use by gender and race/ethnicity and in particular, African Americans showed an increased prevalence in cigarette use much later than white adolescents.
Evans-Polce and colleagues also found that use of alcohol was higher for males than for females during adolescence. Cigarette and marijuana use were similar between males and females, although slightly higher for male adolescents.
The researchers looked at four sets of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a survey conducted beginning in 1994, and repeated in 1996, 2001 and 2008 with the same individuals.
The researchers used an innovative statistical method to plot the prevalence of substance use among whites, blacks and Hispanics on graphs that tracked the individuals by age and separately plotted the substance use of males and females.
The study is published in a recent issue of journal Addictive Behaviors.