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African American Tobacco Prevention Initiative

Smoking has established itself as a health issue of major concern in the African American community.  Currently, about one in five of all African American adults smoke and about one in ten African American high school students are current smokers.  In addition, smoking related illnesses are the number one cause of death in the African American community, surpassing all other causes of death, including Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), homicide, diabetes and accidents.

Despite these high smoking rates among African Americans, research has shown that African American smokers tend to think that smoking is socially unacceptable, and are highly motivated to quit.  In fact 70% of current African American smokers want to quit. Unfortunately, African American smokers face many barriers to smoking cessation, including high levels of nicotine dependence.

Covenant House will address the challenges of getting African Americans to quit smoking by developing a culturally specific program to raise awareness of tobacco use within the African American community in Southern West Virginia and to offer tobacco cessation classes to members of that community.  This program will utilize input from and involvement with African American community and faith-based groups, including ministerial associations, to meet its goals.

Covenant House was founded in 1981 to help people with the fewest resources meet their basic needs: food, clothing and shelter.  After 31 years, their core mission remains the same.  Whether a person is homeless, facing eviction or needs food for their table, Covenant House is a safety net, an advocate and a safe haven in times of crisis.

For more information on the African American Tobacco Prevention Initiative contact Briana Martin at Covenant House or see link below.

African American Tobacco Prevention Initiative  


Department of Health and Human Resources
350 Capitol Street | Room 514 | Charleston, WV 25301 | Phone: (304) 356-4193 | Toll-free: (866) 384-5250 | Fax: (304) 558-1553

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