Support for Smoke-Free Policies

A Nationwide Analysis of Immigrants, US-Born, and Other Demographic Groups, 1995-2002

This study examined whether support for tobacco control policies varies by demographic group, including nativity status (i.e., immigrant versus U.S. born). The authors analyzed data from the 1995 to 2002 Current Population Survey Tobacco Use Supplement (n=543951). The outcome was a summary attitudinal measure assessing support of smoking bans in 4 of 6 venues. U.S.-born respondents, smokers, male respondents, Native Americans, whites, and those who were unmarried, of lower-socioeconomic status, and whose workplaces and homes were not smoke free, were less likely to support smoking bans. Immigrants exhibited stronger support for banning smoking in every venue, with a generation-specific gradient in which support eroded with increasing assimilation to the United States.

Levels of support were more than twice as high among immigrants as among U.S.-born respondents. Naturalized citizens displayed higher support than U.S.-born citizens, which may be relevant for mobilization of the electorate. Differences in population composition and contexts (e.g., smoke-free workplaces) only partially accounted for immigrants’ stronger level of support. The study found that immigrants and their children may be valuable tobacco control allies given their supportive attitudes toward smoke-free policies.