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Differences in quit attempts between non-Hispanic Black and White daily smokers: the role of smoking motives.



The prevalence of smoking across racial/ethnic groups has declined over the years, yet racial health disparities for smoking persist. Studies indicate that non-Hispanic Black smokers attempt to quit smoking more often compared to non-Hispanic White smokers but are less successful at doing so. Research suggests that motives to quit smoking differ by race, however, less is known about the role of motives to smoke in explaining racial differences in attempts to quit smoking.


This study examined whether smoking motives accounted for the differential rates in quit attempts between non-Hispanic Black (n=155) and non-Hispanic White (n=159) smokers. Data were culled from a larger study of heavy-drinking smokers. The Wisconsin Index of Smoking Dependence Motives (WISDM) assessed motives to smoke.


As expected, Black and White smokers reported similar smoking patterns, yet Black smokers reported higher rates of failed attempts to quit smoking than White smokers. Findings indicated that Black, compared to White, smokers endorsed lower scores in the negative reinforcement, positive reinforcement, and taste WISDM subscales and scores in these subscales mediated the relationship between race and quit attempts.


In this study, Blacks, compared to Whites, endorsed lower motives to smoke, which are generally associated with successful quit attempts, yet they experienced more failed attempts to quit smoking. This study demonstrates racial health disparities at the level of smoking motives and suggests that Black smokers remain vulnerable to failed quit attempts despite reporting lower motives to smoke.

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