SACRAMENTO, CA – Led by researchers at UC Davis, the first study of smoking and transnational migration from Mexico to the United states and that of Mexican Americans born in the United States start smoking at a younger age but are more likely to quit their counterparts in Mexico.
Just published in the American Journal of Public Health, the study of migration-related changes in smoking behavior also indicates that while the probability of starting and quitting smoking varies dramatically with migration from Mexico to the United States, the number of cigarettes that smokers consume per day is relatively similar. Mexican-Americans are more likely to start and quit smoking that people in Mexico, but on an average day, Mexican Americans who smoke cigarettes consume only a few more that Mexicans who smoke. In contrast, the number of cigarettes smoked Mexican Americans per day is about half of what smokers smoked per day non-Hispanic whites in the United States.
Cigarette smoking among Mexican Americans remains a significant public health problem, despite the relatively low level of cigarettes consumed per day.
“Everyone in America is smoking much less than before,” said the study’s lead author, Elisa Tong, associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UC Davis, who specializes in research snuff control. “But even cigarette lighters consumption is a risk factor for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.”
Tong added that “while Mexican Americans born in the United States are smoking more, quitting smoking are also more. Such studies help us to understand the cultural and psychological factors that play a role in smoking cessation, so that can develop effective public health programs to get more people in this population quit. “
The research team, led by principal investigator Joshua Breslau, now a researcher at the RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA, is composed of researchers from both Mexico and the United States.
“We have learned a lot by studying the changes in physical, mental and behavioral problems associated with migration,” said Breslau. “In this study, was particularly valuable to observe a migrant population in his country of origin and the country adopted”.
Combining several population studies in both countries, the team examined the differences in starting and quitting smoking and cigarette consumption among daily smokers in a number of groups with increasing contact with the United States. The groups ranged from Mexicans without family connection to migration at one end of the spectrum to Mexican Americans born in the United States on the other. The surveys included thousands of participants on both sides of the border as part of a series of epidemiological studies in psychology between 2001 and 2003.
The study was supported primarily by the National Institute of Mental Health and the American Cancer Society. Other authors were Naomi Saito, Daniel Tancredi, Richard L. Kravitz, Ladson Hinton, Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, and Maria Elena Medina-Mora, all of UC Davis, Guilherme Borges National Institute of Psychiatry Ramon de la Fuente Muñoz in Mexico City, and Joshua Breslau RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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