Background: Adolescent smoking rates have declined among all ethnic groups since the late 1990s. However, despite the recent declines and intervention efforts, today smoking remains a serious problem among youth, with a quarter of adolescents being current smokers by the time they complete 12th grade. This problem is particularly prevalent among Latino youth, who have among the highest rates of lifetime and past-30-day use. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between psychosocial factors and the smoking behavior of Latino youth living along the Mexico-US border. Methods: A convenient sample of 2471 middle and high school Latino students was surveyed in fall 2000. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between study risk factors and youth smoking behavior. Results: The strongest predictor of lifetime and past-30-day smoking was peer influence; however, the strength of the association was greater with recent use. There were also differences in the influence of family and attitudes and beliefs between the 2 groups. Conclusions: These differences need to be taken into consideration to guide development of tailored prevention and control interventions aimed at this specific group. These efforts should address social influences to smoke, particularly those from peers; promote changes in attitudes and beliefs toward smoking; increase understanding of the addictive nature of nicotine; and provide development of skills young people need to resist social and environmental pressures to smoke. Strict control and enforcement measures are needed to completely eliminate the sale of cigarettes to minors.
- Attitudes and beliefs
- Latino youth
- Social influences
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health