Trends in Smoking Among African–Americans: A Description of Nashville’s REACH 2010 Initiative
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African Americans bear a disproportionate burden of tobacco related morbidity and mortality despite smoking less than their Caucasian counterparts. Nashville’s REACH 2010 initiative developed community partnerships to promote awareness, education and participatory programs to prevent and decrease smoking among residents of the northern geographic area of Nashville, TN, a majority African American community. A social–ecological model provided the framework for interventions used during a 5 year period that included: (a) community level strategies to increase awareness and knowledge about the effects of smoking; (b) individual level strategies to enlist and train community members to become advocates, lead smoking cessation classes and encourage current smokers in quit attempts; and (c) strategies directed to changing policy through education and partnership building. Smoking prevalence among residents was examined from 2001 through 2005 based on data from the Nashville CDC REACH 2010 Risk Factor Survey and the Tennessee CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. Tests for linear trends indicated a significant decreasing trend (P < .02) of daily smoking and smoking uptake (P < .03) in North Nashville. In contrast to our community an increasing trend was observed in quitting smoking (P < .01). No trends were significant for African Americans in Tennessee. This study suggests that consistent, multiple and multi-level strategies targeted to an African American community may impact smokers who are not ready to quit but willing to reduce their level of smoking. This study underscores the importance of developing and implementing community wide campaigns to address the needs of African Americans.