Objectives: To examine tobacco use among New York City resident Latin Americans from different countries of origin and with different levels of acculturation reflected by language use.
Design: Effective health promotion programs, particularly those aimed at smoking cessation and prevention, require careful investigation into possible cultural and societal factors influencing predictors and barriers to preventive health behavior. National data characterizing cigarette smoking behavior among broadly defined racial/ethnic groups (e.g., black, Hispanic) have rarely examined the extent or importance of cultural variation and acculturation within and among ethnic groups. This report addresses these issues.
Methods: In this study, we examine self-reported cigarette smoking behavior from a 1992 telephone survey of a quota sample of Puerto Rican, Dominican, Colombian, and Ecuadorian Hispanics living in New York City. We compare results from these data with results from a random sample of New York City Hispanics from the Tobacco Use Supplement to the 1992-93 Current Population Survey.
Results: Both data sets demonstrated that Puerto Ricans were significantly more likely to be current smokers and ever smokers than the other three Latino groups. Among Hispanic women in the quota sample, those who chose to complete the interview in English were much more likely to report ever smoking than those women who chose to complete the interview in Spanish.
Conclusions: The relationship between smoking behavior and acculturation (as measured by language usage) appears to be complex and sensitive to methodological issues of sampling and interview language.