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Am J Prev Med. 1993 Nov-Dec;9(6):331-7.

Cigarette smoking behavior and beliefs of Hispanics in California.

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  • 1Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0807.


We examined the association between ethnicity and cigarette smoking beliefs and behavior in a 1990 random-digit dialing telephone survey of 3,164 Hispanic and 17,975 non-Hispanic white adults in California. Ethnic self-identification and native language were associated with the prevalence of current smoking in women but not in men. However, both male and female Hispanics smoked fewer cigarettes per day than their non-Hispanic counterparts. Hispanics who reported smoking in the past 12 months were more likely than non-Hispanics to have reached the action stage of cessation and to report an attempt to quit smoking. Spanish-speaking Hispanics were most likely to believe in the harmful effects of smoking, but also most likely to believe that smoking was not addictive, that they were not addicted to cigarettes, and that smoking is something everyone should try once. Cessation and prevention programs that target Hispanic populations must be especially sensitive to values and gender-specific acculturation processes that create a discrepancy between the desire to adopt the lifestyles of the dominant society and the recognition of the concomitant health-related risks.

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