Photo: Mexican and Mexican American Smokers Study
Led by UC Davis researchers, the first-ever transnational study of Mexico-U.S. migration and smoking has found that U.S.-born Mexican-Americans start smoking at an earlier age but are more likely to quit than their counterparts in Mexico.
Just published in the American Journal of Public Health, the study on migration-related changes in smoking behavior also found that while the likelihood of starting or stopping smoking varies dramatically with migration from Mexico to the U.S., the number of cigarettes that smokers consume each day remains relatively similar.
Mexican-Americans are more likely to start and to stop smoking than people in Mexico, but on an average day, Mexican-Americans who smoke consume only slightly more cigarettes than Mexicans who smoke. In contrast, the amount smoked per day by Mexican-American smokers is about half that smoked per day by non-Hispanic white smokers in the U.S.
Smoking among Mexican-Americans remains a significant public-health problem, despite the relatively low level of cigarette consumption per day.
The research team, led by principal investigator Joshua Breslau, now a researcher at the RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA includes researchers from both the U.S. and Mexico.
The surveys included several thousand participants on both sides of the border as part of a series of epidemiological psychology studies from 2001 to 2003.
The study was supported primarily by the National Institute of Mental Health and the American Cancer Society.