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Acculturation affects smoking cessation success among Latinos

PHILADELPHIA Less acculturated Latino men have a more difficult time quitting smoking than those who are more acculturated to U.S. culture, but acculturation has no affect on Latinas odds of quitting smoking. Details of these findings are published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. The December issue has a special focus on tobacco.

"Acculturation affects smoking cessation differently for Latino men and women," said researcher Yessenia Castro, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Health Disparities Research at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

"It is critical that tobacco control efforts place special emphasis on reaching these underserved populations such as Latino smokers, particularly given the fact that Latinos are the largest and fastest growing population group in the United States," she added.

Acculturation is the process of change that occurs when someone from one culture has prolonged contact and interaction with another culture and adapts to that culture's lifestyle. While studies to date have shown that acculturation and gender both influence smoking prevalence rates in Latinos, little is known about their effects on smoking cessation.

Castro and colleagues examined the relationship between acculturation and smoking cessation among 271 Latino smokers from Texas and whether the effects of acculturation are the same for men and women. Participants were mostly immigrants to the United States.

More common indicators of acculturation, such as duration of exposure to U.S. society and preference for the English language, were positively related to smoking cessation among men; none of these variables influenced smoking cessation among women, according to the study.

Smoking abstinence three months after receiving cessation services increased for Latino men with the amount of time they spent in the United States and among those who had a greater preference for the English language. For both genders, the odds of abstaining from smoking overall were greater for U.S.-born Latinos compared to Latino immigrants.

"Our data highlight the need for additional research on Latino smokers and how to best help them quit," said Castro. "Advancing knowledge in these areas can help identify treatment targets, improve current smoking cessation interventions and ultimately aid in eliminating smoking-related health disparities among Latinos. This information can be used to guide tobacco control efforts and media campaigns."

Future research should address why acculturation affects Latinos' smoking cessation and if acculturation exerts a direct influence on smoking or other variables that are important to smoking cessation, Castro suggested.


Contact: Tara Yates
American Association for Cancer Research

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