The burden of tobacco use, and resulting disease, disability and death are not borne equally across society. A closer examination of data reveals that smoking rates are inordinately high among certain disparate populations.

These include:

  • those without a high school diploma
  • people with disabilities
  • people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
  • other groups, including ethnic minorities

Nearly 30% of Massachusetts residents receiving MassHealth benefits (Medicaid) are smokers.

In FY2005, we:

  • was awarded a grant from the CDC to identify, evaluate, and eliminate tobacco-related disparities.
  • conducted 16 key informant interviews with clinicians and outreach workers in communities serving cultural and linguistic minorities. (Worcester, Holyoke, Lowell, Lawrence, New Bedford, Quincy, Fall River, Brockton)
  • completed 17 focus groups with minority groups to ascertain their attitudes toward smoking and determine approaches to helping them quit. (Great Barrington, Holyoke, Lowell, Lawrence, Dorchester, Mattapan, Lawrence, Worcester, Quincy, Brockton)

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation & Prevention Program within the Department of Public Health.