Background: Cigarette smokers often engage in other, potentially deleterious, health behaviors. Such behaviors have not been well documented in Mexican American smokers.
Methods: Data from the Southwestern sample of the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES) were employed to investigate differences in health behaviors, risk factors and health indicators between cigarette smokers and nonsmokers among Mexican Americans. Differences between those smoking less than 10 and 10 or more cigarettes per day were also examined by age group and gender.
Results: Positive associations between smoking status and heavy coffee and alcohol consumption were found across gender and age groups. Less consistent was the finding that smokers weighed less than nonsmokers. Lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures in middle-aged smokers, and higher levels of depressive symptomatology among smoking women were found. Those smoking 10 or more cigarettes per day were more likely to report heavy coffee consumption, with younger men reporting greater activity limitation due to poor health. Middle-aged men and women in the 10+ category were generally in better health than lighter smokers.
Conclusions: Modest associations between cigarette smoking, health behaviors and risk factors found in other studies were confirmed in this Mexican American population. Few significant associations between smoking and health status were noted.