A Hispanic community health study is the first of its kind to evaluate the prevalence and determinants of e-cigarette use among Hispanic and Latino populations living in the United States.
US-born, English-speaking Hispanic and Latino young males with higher levels of education and acculturation are more likely to use e-cigarettes, according to a recent study.
Despite the introduction of e-cigarette products and its rise in popularity, the extent of e-cigarette use among Hispanic and Latino minority populations had yet to be examined. This population-based cohort study, published in the American Journal of Medicine Open, found that e-cigarette or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use was highest among US-born young males of Puerto Rican ethnicity who prefer speaking in English, and was associated with having higher levels of education compared to nonsmokers and cigarette-only smokers.
“ENDS products represent a potential disruptive innovation to traditional tobacco use, with adolescents and young adults experimenting with e-cigarettes,” said Ayana April-Sanders, an instructor at the Rutgers School of Public Health and lead author of the study, in a statment.
“This experimentation is a risk factor for progression to combustible cigarette smoking and nicotine-dependence, which could lead to a ‘tipping point’ phenomenon, where future generations experience a higher prevalence of nicotine dependence and tobacco-related disease compared with previous generations.”
The data used in this study came from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), the largest and most representative cohort study of Hispanic and Latino populations in the United States. The study included a total of 16,415 Hispanic and Latino individuals between the ages of 18-74 years. These individuals resided in either the Bronx, Chicago, Miami, or San Diego. Out of the total participants, data was analyzed from 11,275 individuals.
The mean (SE) age of individuals was 47.3 (0.3) years, the majority being female (52.1%). Additionally, most participants were of Mexican background (39%), followed by Cuban (20.9%), and Puerto Rican (16.7%). Most were non-US-born (77%), and most of those (65.7%) had lived 10 or more years in the United States.
One-third did not graduate high school, and more than half of the HCHS/SOL population did not have higher levels of education. Additionally, 53.7% of households earned less than $30 000 annually, and most reported having health insurance.
Of the total participants, 2% of those surveyed were ENDS users and 10% were former ENDS users.
The study found that ENDS users tended to be significantly younger (18-34 years) than non-smokers and tobacco-only smokers, were predominantly male, were more likely to have a high school education or above, reported an income of $30 000 or higher, were born in the United States, and preferred using English.
Furthermore, the study found that young adults who did had never smoked a cigarette were using e-cigarettes, highlighting the potential increase of health risks from chronic exposure to toxic substances among US youth.
The researchers acknowledged certain limitations given the nature of this study, which was self-reported and conducted in large metropolitan cities. However, despite its limitations, they believe this study encourages further research into the links between e-cigarette use and ethnic and accultured factors among minority populations in the United States.
“Our findings could inform preventive and regulatory interventions targeted at Hispanic and Latino communities to protect public health,” said April-Sanders. “Public health messaging efforts should consider targeting greater acculturated younger Hispanic and Latino individuals and creating bilingual messaging efforts that may be more appropriate for less acculturated, older people.”
April-Sanders AK, Daviglus ML, Lee UJ, et al. Prevalence of electronic cigarette use and its determinants in US persons of Hispanic/Latino background: The Hispanic Community Health Study / Study of Latinos (HCHS/sol). American Journal of Medicine Open. 2023;9:100029. doi:10.1016/j.ajmo.2022.100029