According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking is a leading cause of death and related disabilities than any single disease worldwide. It is estimated that about five million deaths occur annually as a result of smoking (Fagan & Fernander, 2007).
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In the United States, the use of tobacco has been identified as being one of the most avoidable causes of death with research estimates pointing out that over 400,000 Americans succumb to tobacco-related illnesses annually (Davis, Hartman & Gibson, 2008). The diseases associated with tobacco smoking include; cancer, heart attacks, and strokes.
Recent research findings reveal that approximately 25.9 million men and about 22.8 million women in the U.S are daily smokers. All these smokers are vulnerable to heart attack and stroke. Among the young people, it is estimated that about 4 million teenagers in American aged between 12 and 17 are daily smokers. There are various factors that determine the prevalence rates and trends of smoking in America, for instance educational levels and race/ethnicity.
In general, smoking prevalence is the highest among people living below the poverty level since they constitute 33.3 % and those with less years of education (37.4%) (Owing, 2005). The research paper seeks to explore the new trend in research on smoking behavior by race/ethnicity and gender over the period 1992 to 2003. It will then explain the impact of the trend on research in the field of psychology.
Many researchers have made attempts to explore the various disparities that may exist as far as smoking is concerned. Davis et al. (2008) conducted a research to investigate the current smoking trends and prevalence rates by race/ethnicity as well as gender. They evaluated the statistics for the period 1992 to 2003. Notably, the researchers employed the use of Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUP-CPS).
Aware of the challenges that researchers have faced when investigating smoking among the small race/ethnicity groupings, Davis et al. used a significant sample size each year in order to enhance the accuracy and reliability of the research findings. In their article, the researchers provide the most recent smoking trends as well as the occurrence rates for Hispanics and four non-Hispanic races; the Whites, Blacks, Asian and Pacific Islanders (API), and American Indian and Alaskan Natives (AIAN).
A number of national institutes in the U.S have strived to minimize the existing health disparities especially among the different races/ethnicities found in the American population (Fagan & Fernander, 2007). These groups have manifested significant differences when it comes to exposure and subsequent consequences of tobacco related health disparities (TRHD).
The article discusses the current smoking trends by race/ethnicity as one of the key aspects of TRHD in the United States of America. Their main objective for carrying out the research was to find out whether the prevalence rates and trends were on the increase or decrease over the past few years (Davis et al., 2008).
Very resourceful information on the smoking trends of adult Americans over several decades can be found from a number of past national surveys, particularly among the different racial groupings. With an aim of studying the current trends in the smoking disparity, the authors of the article compared the annual prevalence rates among the non-Hispanic AIANs and non-Hispanic Whites. Adjustments were made for socio-economic status (SES).
The past study findings revealed that the non-Hispanic AIAN had the highest current smoking prevalence rates for both males and females. However, the same group was found to have the most significant decrease in the rates of smoking for both genders. If this trend takes the same regression, according to Davis et al. (2008), the disparities between this group and the rest will be negligible.
Important decreases in the prevalence rates as well as trends were recorded over the period under investigation for both race/ethnicity and gender apart from the Asian and Pacific Islanders females. In general, the researchers concluded that socio-economic status plays a central role in determining the current smoking prevalence rates as well as the trends.
It is evident that the above research findings are significantly different from prior study outcomes. Due to the fact that the analysis technique used by Davis et al. (2008) was limited to two approaches (range and the slope approximations), further research ought to explore the possibility of arriving at the same conclusions using other statistical techniques and analyses proposed by former researchers.
Furthermore, future studies should investigate whether the decrease in disparity is achieved for other TRHD dimensions like; the amount of tobacco smoked, the age of commencing smoking, and the rates of quit among smokers. The research paper used the current smoking prevalence rates for its analysis.
It can also be realized that most research findings in this field of psychology relies on the reliability of the race/bridging method used since it has the most significant impact on the current smoking rates of prevalence for dominant respondents from a given race, for instance the AIAN in the study by Davis et al. (2008).
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In general, the findings present a great challenge for future researchers since they have to go beyond the conventional ways of conducting psychological researches.
The research paper has discussed the new trend in research on the prevalence rates of smoking among the population racial/ethnicity groups and gender for the 1992 and 2003 time frame. A summary of the article by Davis et al. (2008) has been presented as well as its impact on the field of psychological research. If the broad concept of smoking is to be fully understood, more detailed and specific studies must be carried out.
Davis, W. W., Hartman, A. M. & Gibson, J. T. (2008). ‘Trends in smoking prevalence by race/ethnicity.’ Statistical Research and Applications. National Cancer Institute.
Fagan, P. & Fernander, A. (2007). Identifying health disparities among smokers. Addiction, 103(3), 6-28
Owing, J. H. (2005). Trends and prevalence rates in smoking and health research. Nova Plc.