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Tobacco Use Among African Americans

Each year, approximately 45,000 African Americans die from smoking-related disease. Smoking-related illnesses are the number one cause of death in the African-American community, surpassing all other causes of death, including AIDS, homicide, diabetes, and accidents. If current smoking rates persist, an estimated 1.6 million black Americans alive today under the age of 18 will become regular smokers, and about 500,000 will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease.

Helping Communities Quit Smoking

The American Lung Association and National Urban League are working together to reduce this disparity in the African-American community by offering free quit-smoking services in four cities across the country. Funded through the CVS Health Foundation, this partnership will reduce the burden of tobacco use and tobacco-related illness by giving people access to the American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking® program, a proven-effective smoking cessation program.

Each year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the country. Smoking can cause or worsen numerous diseases and conditions, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and more. In fact, tobacco use is a major contributor to the three leading causes of death among African-Americans—heart disease, cancer and stroke—and causes 45,000 African-American deaths every year.

Through this initiative, we are working to promote and provide better access to proven quit-smoking programs to communities in Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. Freedom From Smoking has helped more than one million smokers quit and is available by phone, through local support groups, and even online. Participants will learn about building a quit plan, medications that can aid quitting smoking, lifestyle changes that support quitting smoking, how to manage stress and how to overcome relapse and become smokefree for good.

Support for the partnership between the American Lung Association and National Urban League is being provided through CVS Health’s five-year $50 million initiative to help deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation and extend the company's larger commitment to helping people lead tobacco-free lives.



To raise the standard of health in our communities by focusing on the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.

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