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African Americans Disproportionately Affected by Lung Disease; Lung Cancer is Top 3 Killer


Lung Health Fact Sheets Shine Light on Growing Disparities in Lung Disease

[February 16, 2006, NY] – African Americans are more likely to develop lung cancer than persons of any other racial or ethnic group according to updated American Lung Association Lung Disease Data in Culturally Diverse Communities Fact Sheets. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at the issue and reinforced the fact that lung cancer incidence is greater among African Americans. Additionally it appears that among cigarette smokers, African Americans are more susceptible to lung cancer.

“We are aware that blacks are being disproportionately affected by lung cancer,” said John Kirkwood, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “There are differing opinions as to why this is the case but the bottom line is that we need to continue to educate the public – especially this community – about the health effects of smoking.”

The Lung Association’s fact sheets findings show that African American men are at least 50 percent more likely than White men to develop lung cancer and that the lung cancer survival rate is only 13.2 percent for African Americans compared to 15.4 percent for Whites.

Across the board lung health disparities are seen in diverse communities, and lung cancer is not the only lung disease that affects African Americans disproportionately. They have the highest asthma prevalence of any racial/ethnic group and were three times more likely to die from asthma than Whites.

The Lung Disease Data in Culturally Diverse Communities Fact Sheets include lung health statistics for the African American, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian-American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities.

The American Lung Association released these fact sheets to demonstrate that communities of color are more likely to develop a majority of lung diseases and other respiratory problems than the white population. We want to bring attention to this disparity and give everyone the information they need to stay healthy.

To view the full fact sheets, visit or call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872).

Additional Resources

* Download the Lung Disease Data in Culturally Diverse Communities Fact Sheets

About the American Lung Association
Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Improving life, one breath at a time.” For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to


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