African Americans: NRT or Alternative Medicine for Cessation


  1. Valerie Yerger, MA, ND
Research Fields: 
Addiction and Cessation
Special Populations

This descriptive study consists of focus groups and survey development to explore among African American smokers perceived obstacles in the use of nicotine replacement therapy and to identify any uses of alternative medicines as aids to help them quit smoking. Drugs made to replace nicotine in the body, such as the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, and nasal spray, have been used to help individuals quit smoking. These drugs, often referred to as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), have been shown to significantly increase the number of people who are able to quit; however, African Americans are less likely to use these drugs than are white smokers. This qualitative research project explored perceived obstacles to the use of conventional nicotine replacement therapies and sought to identify any uses of alternative therapies such as home remedies, prayer and spiritual healing, or relaxation techniques to quit smoking. This descriptive, exploratory study has two aims. The first aim is to understand what may be influencing African Americans in their decision making regarding the use of NRT. We conducted focus groups in several California communities to explore African Americans' perceived obstacles to the use of NRT and to identify any uses of alternative therapies to quit smoking. The second aim is to analyze the data from the focus groups to identify important issues and to develop questions for a culturally appropriate survey. The survey items were pilot tested and refined to develop a culturally appropriate instrument.