(NBC) - A majority of Americans who smoke don't want to.
"More than two-thirds of the people who smoke in America say they want to quit completely," says the Centers for Disease Control's Dr. Tim McAfee.
While more than half of those people tried to quit last year, the CDC reports just 6-percent of smokers were successful.
African Americans are the group most likely to want and try to quit, but have the lowest success rate.
One theory for this is that African Americans smoke menthol cigarettes three times as much as the general population.
"The Scientific Advisory Council for the FDA found that they think there's evidence that menthol makes it harder to quit," says Dr. McAfee
It's also harder to quit the earlier you start. The vast majority of adult smokers picked up the habit as teenagers.
The Food and Drug Administration has begun to enforce federal law that bans selling tobacco products to minors.
In recent weeks the FDA has sent more than 1,200 warning letters to retailers.
Many neglected to get proof of age from customers buying cigarettes.
The CDC report also found a majority of 18 to 24 year old smokers attempted to quit last year.
Experts say it's a good first step.
If you want to take that first step, you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or log onto www.becomeanex.org. Both have resources that are free of charge.
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