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Racial/Ethnic and Nativity Patterns of U.S. Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking

Becky Wade, Joseph T Lariscy, Robert A Hummer
Population Research and Policy Review 2013 June 1, 32 (3): 353-371
25339787
We document racial/ethnic and nativity differences in U.S. smoking patterns among adolescents and young adults using the 2006 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (n=44,202). Stratifying the sample by nativity status within five racial/ethnic groups (Asian American, Mexican American, other Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic white), and further by sex and age, we compare self-reports of lifetime smoking across groups. U.S.-born non-Hispanic whites, particularly men, report smoking more than individuals in other racial/ethnic/nativity groups. Some groups of young women (e.g., foreign-born and U.S.-born Asian Americans, foreign-born and U.S.-born Mexican Americans, and foreign-born blacks) report extremely low levels of smoking. Foreign-born females in all of the 25-34 year old racial/ethnic groups exhibit greater proportions of never smoking than their U.S.-born counterparts. Heavy/moderate and light/intermittent smoking is generally higher in the older age group among U.S.-born males and females whereas smoking among the foreign-born of both sexes is low at younger ages and remains low at older ages. Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of considering both race/ethnicity and nativity in assessments of smoking patterns and in strategies to reduce overall U.S. smoking prevalence and smoking-attributable health disparities.

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