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Public Health Rep. 1994 May-Jun;109(3):421-7.

The relationship between language spoken and smoking among Hispanic-Latino youth in New York City.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY 10021.


This study was designed to examine the relationship between language spoken and smoking (at least once a month) among New York City Hispanic-Latino adolescents, using a large sample of specific Hispanic-Latino subgroups (Puerto Rican, Dominican, Colombian, and Ecuadorian youth) and controlling for social and environmental factors. The sample included 3,129 Hispanic-Latino students in 47 New York City public and parochial schools. Of the total sample, 43 percent were Puerto Rican, 20 percent Dominican, 7 percent Colombian, and 7 percent Ecuadorian. The students completed questionnaires that were designed to assess social and environmental influences on their smoking and determine what languages they spoke (English and Spanish) with parents and friends. Self-reported smoking data were collected by means of the bogus pipeline to enhance the veracity of self-reports. In the logistic regression model, including background, social influence, and language use variables, 101 students were smokers. Logistic regression analysis indicated that being bicultural (speaking both English and Spanish) at home and with friends appeared to increase the odds of currently smoking. Separate logistic regression analyses for girls and boys revealed that being bicultural at home increased the odds of currently smoking for boys but not girls. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for prevention.

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