Why it Matters

  • Adults who are Hispanic/Latinx generally have lower prevalence of cigarette smoking and other tobacco use than other racial/ethnic groups, with the exception of people who are Asian American. However, prevalence varies among sub-groups within the population of people who are Hispanic:
    • People who are Puerto Rican: 28.5%
    • People who are Cuban: 19.8%
    • People who are Mexican: 19.1%
    • People who are Central or South American: 15.6%1
  • Current tobacco use (of any kind) during 2014-2017 among middle and high school students who are Hispanic was 14.6%. For male students it was 15.6% versus 13.5% for females. The most common form of tobacco use was e-cigarettes at 9.9%.2
  • Adults who are Hispanic and who smoke are less likely to receive advice to quit and to use proven cessation treatments than people who are non-Hispanic White and who smoke. Culturally competent educational initiatives directed at both providers and communities of people who are Hispanic could help eliminate this marked and persistent disparity.3
  • Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death among people who are Hispanic. The risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for people who are Hispanic and who smoke compared to those people who are Hispanic and do not smoke.4
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among men who are Hispanic and the second leading cause among women who are Hispanic.5
    • People who are Hispanic/Latinx have lower health insurance coverage and less healthcare access than people who are white, making it less likely that they will be advised by a health care provider to quit smoking cigarettes or to have access to cessation treatments. People who are Hispanic, however, still quit smoking at higher rates than people who are white or than the general population.6

What We Know About What Works

  • Results suggest that many people who are Hispanic/Latinx are self-motivated to quit and are able to do so without clinical assistance. Over 90% of females and males who formerly smoked reported quitting on their own without cessation aids or therapy.7
  • Focus groups were conducted with Latinx adults who were former and current smokers from Santa Clara County, California in 2015. Participants reported factors driving their tobacco use and motivations to quit and emphasized the importance of community and family in influencing their smoking initiation, cravings and triggers, attempts to quit, and abstinence.8

What’s Relevant in Pennsylvania

  • In 2018, the rate of smoking in Pennsylvania for adults who are Hispanic was 19% compared to 16% for adults who are White and non-Hispanic.9
  • Pennsylvania’s Free Quitline has a Spanish language number: 1-855-DEJELO-YA
  • Tobacco Free Southwest has a page for Hispanics/Latinos including facts and stories from the CDC TIPS campaign (see References and Resources below).

What Other States Are Doing

  • An assessment of young adults who are Hispanic and Latinx and participants of texting and mobile media services for smoking cessation in South Texas showed 21.4% of participants abstinent seven months after their quit date.  Program enrollment was promoted using mainly social media (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), in addition to local mass media publicity and outreach at colleges, universities, trade schools, and other venues attended by young
    adults. Young people who smoke—and particularly young adults who have lower incomes, are Spanish-speaking, and for whom mobile devices are a primary point of Internet access—were effectively served by text messaging cessation program methodology.10
  • In May 2018, Health Education Council launched LUCHA Tabaco to partner with people who are Latinx living in 14 Northern California counties to prevent and control tobacco use their community. The project seeks to increase access for people who are Latinx to cessation programs, educate and engage people who are Latinx in the movement toward smokefree multi-unit housing, educate and engage people who are Latinx in efforts to prohibit the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, and bring together groups working on health and well-being programs among people who are Latinx to assure a coordinated approach to tobacco prevention.

References and Resources

  • Lung.org site page on Tobacco resources in Spanish
  • Audio links:
  •  Smokefree Housing info
  • The Nuestras Voces (Our Voices) National Network to Reduce Tobacco-Related and Cancer Health Disparities works to empower people who are Hispanic and those who serve them around the United States. Within the realm of tobacco and cancer control, Nuestras Voces works toward building infrastructure in communities of people who are Hispanic, as well as increasing partnerships with regional and national tobacco and cancer control networks and
    other stakeholders, to decrease tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke among Hispanics and increase cancer prevention and management for people who are Hispanic.
  • The CDC “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign highlights real stories from people who formerly smoked and nonsmokers affected by tobacco. A specific webpage is dedicated to people who are Hispanic/Latinx and includes real stories from people who are Hispanic or Latinx in addition to free valuable resources and materials for people who smoker and who want to quit and for anyone who wants to help someone quit.
  • Smokefree Espanol is a website with information related to quitting and free resources including Smokefree TXT in Spanish.
  1. “Hispanics/Latinos and Tobacco Use,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 17, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/hispanics-latinos/index.htm.
  2. Satomi Odani et al., “Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States,” 2014.2017.  MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:952-957. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6734a3.htm.
  3. Stephen Babb, “Disparities in Cessation Behaviors Between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Adult Cigarette Smokers in the United States,
    2000–2015,” Preventing Chronic Disease (2020). https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd17.190279.
  4. Ibid.
  5. American Cancer Society, “Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos 2018-2020,” 2018 file:///R:/Health%20Effects/ACS%20Cancer%20Facts%20&%20Figures/cancer-facts-and-figures-for-hispanics-and-latinos-2018-2020.pdf.
  6. Stephen Babb, “Disparities in Cessation Behaviors Between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Adult Cigarette Smokers in the United States,
    2000–2015,” Preventing Chronic Disease (2020). https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd17.190279
  7. Cheryl R. Merzel et al., “Smoking Cessation among U.S. Hispanic/Latino Adults: Findings from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL),” Preventive Medicine 81 (December 2015): 412–19.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.10.006.
  8. Beatriz Anguiano et al., “Latino Adults’ Perspectives on Treating Tobacco Use Via Social Media,” JMIR MHealth and UHealth. (February 8, 2017): e12. https://doi.org/10.2196/mhealth.6684.
  9. “2018 Behavioral Health Risks of Pennsylvania Adults.” Pennsylvania Department of Health.  https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/HealthStatistics/BehavioralStatistics/BehavioralRiskPAAdults/Documents/State%20
  10. Patricia Chalela et al., “Reaching Latinos Through Social Media and SMS for Smoking Cessation,” Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos. (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29286-7_18. Accessed July 14, 2020.

3001 Gettysburg Road
Camp Hill, PA 17011
(p) 717-971-1134
(f) 888-415-5757

This project is funded by a grant through
the PA Department of Health.


Copyright © 2022 American Lung Association / All Rights Reserved