A Study of Tobacco-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic/Latino Subpopulations

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Legacy released a ground breaking study produced in collaboration with Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) entitled: “Legacy Latino College Health Initiative: A Study of Tobacco-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic/Latino Subpopulations.” No research effort to-date had focused exclusively on drilling down tobacco use within the Hispanic/Latino college population. The study was conducted at four different universities across the United States, representing regional differences, types of schools (public and private institutions) and Hispanic/Latino subgroups. The outcomes help to illustrate the differences in cigarette smoking and other tobacco products used among college Latino subgroups. For example, Cuban-Americans have the highest prevalence of cigarette smoking (37 percent) while Dominican-Americans have the lowest (9 percent).

Another critical finding was the higher rate of smoking among students living on-campus (29 percent) compared to those that live off-campus (16 percent). Furthermore, a high rate of experimentation with emerging products like hookah and electronic cigarettes was observed among specific subgroups. Menthol use in particular, was also significantly higher among Cuban-Americans and Puerto-Ricans, compared to Mexican-Americans and Dominican-Americans. What does all of this data mean?

This study is one of the first to show that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to addressing tobacco use among Hispanics/Latinos. Considering one in four Americans born today are Hispanic, and the majority of the overall population is within the 18-26 age group; makes addressing tobacco use among Hispanics/Latinos, particularly students, critical to reducing diseases caused by tobacco use and a step closer to ending the tobacco epidemic. Partnering with the HACU allowed us to create a catalyst for data collection and a model that holds promise for replication. Thus, lessons learned for specific Hispanic/Latino subgroups in colleges can be used for changes in policies and interventions beneficial to specific subgroups.

Population of focus: Hispanic and Latino college students

Links to resource:

Date: 2014

Organization: Legacy in collaboration with Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities