Thursday, April 23, 2009

DHS: Minorities Suffer Under Tobacco Disproportionately

Likely this afternoon, the legislature's Joint Finance Committee will vote on tobacco prevention and control program funding. In honor of Minority Cancer Awareness Week, the Department of Health Services has evidence why tobacco disparities funding is needed more than ever.

"Lung cancer is still Wisconsin's leading cancer killer and the rates in minority populations are significantly higher," DHS Secretary Karen Timberlake said. "While smoking rates for most racial groups have declined since 1990, the African American smoking rate remains stubbornly high."

According to a new report by the DHS:

  • 30.1 percent of African Americans smoke compared to 18.8 percent for whites
  • From 2001-2005 African American males had an 80 percent higher incidence rate of lung cancer than white males
  • American Indians had the second-highest lung cancer incidence rate
  • African Americans have the highest mortality rate due to the disease, followed by American Indians
The report also offers more evidence that lung cancer and tobacco rates are joined at the hip; tobacco use and exposure are responsible for more than 85 percent of lung cancer cases in the U.S.

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