Support for smoke-free policies: a nationwide analysis of immigrants, US-born, and other demographic groups, 1995-2002

Am J Public Health. 2010 Jan;100(1):171-81. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.160218.


Objectives: We examined whether support for tobacco control policies varies by demographic group, including nativity status (i.e., immigrant versus US born).

Methods: We analyzed 1995 to 2002 data from the Current Population Survey Tobacco Use Supplement (n=543,951). The outcome was a summary attitudinal measure assessing support of smoking bans in 4 of 6 venues.

Results: US-born respondents, smokers, male respondents, Native Americans, Whites, and those who were unmarried, of lower socioeconomic status, and whose workplaces and homes were not smoke free were less likely to support smoking bans. Immigrants exhibited stronger support for banning smoking in every venue, with a generation-specific gradient in which support eroded with increasing assimilation to the United States. Levels of support were more than twice as high among immigrants as among US-born respondents (odds ratio [OR]=2.16; 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.08, 2.23). Naturalized citizens displayed higher support than US-born citizens, which may be relevant for mobilization of the electorate. Differences in population composition and contexts (e.g., smoke-free workplaces) only partially accounted for immigrants' stronger level of support.

Conclusions: Immigrants and their children may be valuable tobacco control allies given their supportive attitudes toward smoke-free policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Policy Making*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control*
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution