UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Differences between Latino daily light and heavier smokers in smoking attitudes, risk perceptions, and smoking cessation outcome

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Services Research | Substance Abuse and Addiction


INTRODUCTION: Daily light smoking is increasing and disproportionately represented among Latinos. The current study examines differences in smoking attitudes, psychosocial characteristics, risk perceptions, and cessation rates between Latino daily light (3-9 cigarettes/day) and heavier smokers (>/= 10 cigarettes/day).

METHODS: Participants (N = 131; M(age) = 36.8, 73.3% female, 53.1% light smokers) were enrolled in a study focused on motivating smokers to quit. Cessation was biochemically verified at 2 and 3 months after end of treatment.

RESULTS: Heavier smoking was more prevalent among males (65.7%) and those from Puerto Rico (69.0%). Compared with heavier smokers, light smokers were less nicotine dependent (p < .001), reported fewer pros of smoking (p ≤ .001), less perceived stress (p ≤ .001), had fewer friends who smoked (p ≤ .005), were more likely to live in a household with an indoor smoking ban (p ≤ .001), and self-reported better health (p < .05). Regarding risk perceptions, Latino light smokers reported less perceived vulnerability for the health effects from smoking on their child's health (p < .05). There were no significant differences in smoking cessation rates between daily light and heavier smokers at either 2- or 3-month follow-up. Belief that quitting would improve "their own health," however, significantly predicted smoking cessation at both 2- and 3-month follow-up, but only among heavier smokers.

CONCLUSIONS: Latino light smokers do not seem to be more likely to quit smoking than Latinos who smoke at heavier rates. Differences between Latino light and heavier smokers in demographics, smoking attitudes, and psychosocial factors may need to be considered when developing cessation programs and mass media campaigns. Future research should continue to explore whether Latino light smokers need different or more targeted treatments.

DOI of Published Version



Nicotine Tob Res. 2013 Jan;15(1):103-11. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nts095. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nicotine and tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

PubMed ID