Racial disparities in intensity of smoke exposure and nicotine intake among low-dependence smokers

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Feb 18;221:108641. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108641. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Compared to white smokers, Black smokers are at disproportionately higher risk for smoking-related disease, despite consuming fewer cigarettes per day (CPD). To examine racial disparities in biobehavioral influences on smoking and disease risk, we analyzed the relationship between self-reported tobacco dependence and intensity of tobacco smoke exposure per cigarette, on the one hand, and intensity of nicotine intake per cigarette, on the other.

METHODS: In 270 Black and 516 white smokers, smoke exposure was measured by expired carbon monoxide (CO), and nicotine intake was measured by plasma cotinine (COT) and cotinine+3′-hydroxycotinine ([COT + 3HC]). Using linear regression analyses, we analyzed how the Fagerström Test for Cigarette Dependence (FTCD) predicted intensity of smoke exposure per cigarette (CO/CPD) and intensity of nicotine intake per cigarette (COT/CPD; [COT + 3HC]/CPD), and how race moderated these relations.

RESULTS: Overall, Black smokers consumed fewer CPD than white smokers and had higher levels of CO/CPD, COT/CPD, and [COT + 3HC]/CPD. These elevations were most pronounced at lower levels of dependence: amongst Black smokers, FTCD negatively predicted intensity of smoke exposure as measured by CO/CPD (B = -0.12, 95% CI = -0.18, -0.05, p = 0.0003) and intensity of nicotine intake as measured by [COT + 3HC]/CPD (B = -1.31, 95% CI = -2.15, -0.46, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: Low-dependence Black smokers had higher intensities of both smoke exposure and nicotine intake per cigarette compared to similarly dependent white smokers, suggesting that measures of dependence, exposure, and intake underestimate incremental risk of each cigarette to Black smokers.

PMID:33652379 | DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108641