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October 01, 2006

African-Americans are less likely than European-Americans and Latinos to begin smoking in early adolescence or report dependence on illicit drugs during young adulthood. In a 10-year study, Dr. William Vega at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Dr. Andres Gil at Florida International University monitored smoking and progression to other drug abuse in 1,208 students, starting at age 11 and ending at age 20. Among participants who began smoking in early adolescence, African-Americans were least likely to report that they still smoked or that they abused or were dependent on illicit drugs as young adults. European-Americans were most likely to still be smoking as 20-year-olds, and U.S.-born Latinos most likely to report abuse or dependence on drugs other than marijuana. These relationships held when the researchers factored in the influences of gender, socioeconomic status, education, parental smoking, and early alcohol use.

Addiction 100(9):1358-1369, 2005.

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