Redorbit.com is reporting African-American kids growing up in housing projects could have a greater chance of becoming addicted to tobacco as adults than African-American kids raised in other communities. A study released in the Addictive Behavior Journal found that kids in housing projects were 2.3 times as likely to become regular tobacco users. Researchers surveyed 518 youths between the ages of 11-20 years old in housing projects in three major cities in the U.S. The survey measured how the groups’ attitudes toward tobacco use, depression and “delinquent behaviors.”

What researchers discovered is that kids living in housing projects experienced more psychological strain, had poor social relationships, and higher anxiety levels as a result of high crime rates in their communities. Mansoo Yu, an assistant professor of social work and public health at the University of Missouri who co-authored the study, outlined a strategy that would reduce the number of kids who engage in smoking in housing projects.

“Early interventions are critical for these individuals since the likelihood of being exposed to risky behaviors dramatically increases as the children age,” Yu said. “In public housing communities, adolescents may have easier access to drugs and social activities where drugs are used.”

“Smoking cessation programs for young African Americans living in public housing communities should focus on reversing their positive attitudes toward tobacco use,” Yu said. “In addition, programs should help address the youths’ depressive symptoms and keep them from getting involved in delinquent behaviors.”

Read more on the study here.