Differences in Smoking Behavior and Attitudes Among Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Non-Latino White Caregivers of Children with Asthma

Latinos in the United States have high prevalence of smoking, 15.8 percent overall, with variations among Latinos from different countries of origin. Cubans have the highest rate of smoking (21.5%) with Puerto Ricans slightly lower (18.6%) and Dominicans the lowest (10.7%). Latino subgroups also have differences in smoking attitudes and rates of smoking cessation.

These researchers examined a constellation of smoking attitudes and behaviors among Puerto Ricans and Dominicans. They hypothesized that Puerto Ricans, living under U.S. influence for 100 years, would have adopted U.S. lifestyles more than Dominicans and would be more motivated to quit smoking.

They found important treatment differences between Puerto Ricans and Dominicans—motivation to quit, nicotine dependence, pros of smoking, state of change—suggesting meaningful differences between subgroups that could be used to tailor treatment.

Dominicans had lower nicotine dependence than Puerto Ricans. They also had many protective factors to facilitate quitting that suggest that Dominicans may have less difficulty quitting smoking than Puerto Ricans.

The study was conducted in the northeast with Latinos who have children with asthma and may not be generalizable to Latinos in other parts of the country or to those who do not have children with asthma.