WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A study conducted in Missouri suggests that smoking may be even more lethal for blacks than it is for whites.

In fact, researchers say the smoking-related death rate for blacks is nearly one-fifth higher than it is for whites in that state.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Office on Smoking and Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They analyzed data from 2003-2007 found that the average annual smoking-attributable death rate was 358 per 100,000 for blacks in Missouri and 286 per 100,000 for whites, a difference of 18 percent.

That racial difference was larger among men (28 percent) than among women (11 percent).

Blacks had a 26 percent higher smoking-related death rate for cancer and a 53 percent higher smoking-related death for circulatory diseases, but a 32 percent lower smoking-related death rate for respiratory diseases.

Overall, smoking caused about a third of all cancer deaths, 15.3 percent of all circulatory disease deaths, and 46.5 percent of all respiratory disease deaths in Missouri between 2003 and 2007, according to the study.

The findings appear in this week's issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Based on the data, the CDC says that "states should continue to implement population-wide tobacco control interventions [e.g., quitlines, smoke-free policies, and increased excise taxes on tobacco products] that reach all racial groups."

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about smoking and health.