In 2013, a reported 20.9% of Latinx in the US used some form of tobacco product. However, according to the CDC, US-born Latinx are more likely to use tobacco products than foreign born Latinx.1

Data on Latinx smoking rates can vary drastically, especially because the Latinx community is diverse and consists of multiple racial groups that may identify in different ways. Data from 2015 demonstrates that smoking rates in the Latinx community were relatively low at 10.7%, where white identified Latinx actually reported smoking less than white non-Latinx, but the numbers tell a different story when they are broken down by subgroup.2

Combined NHIS data from 2009-2013, shows that the general smoking rate for Latinx was 13.5%, but 21.6% of Puerto Ricans, 18.2% of Cubans, 13% of Mexicans, and 9.2% of Central or South Americans are current smokers.3

A 2014 study of Latinx in urban areas like Chicago, Miami, San Diego, and the Bronx found smoking rates as high as 35% among Puerto Rican men (32.6% for women) and 31.3% for Cuban men (21.9% for women).4

Targeted Marketing

The tobacco industry specifically targets the Latinx community with products using Spanish words in the name (for example, Rio or Nobel brand cigarettes), contributing to Latinx education funds and scholarships, and being present at Latinx cultural events and celebrations. RJ Reynolds has also identified ways to more effectively target Latinx and immigrant communities by framing tobacco use as a component of assimilation or becoming “more American”. 5

Specific Latinx identities often lie in intersections of multiple demographics targeted by the tobacco industry. Tobacco-related marketing targeted increases towards Black-identified or low-income Latinx. 6 Learn more about the tobacco industry and disparities in marketing at the point of sale.

Data has also shown that Latinx communities have higher densities of tobacco retailers, especially if they have high proportions of both Latinx and low-income residents.7 High numbers of tobacco retailers in a community perpetuates social norms around the availability of tobacco products and exposes community members to more of the marketing that causes initiation and difficulty quitting.

Policy

Policies that limit the number of retailers in a community through zoning and licensing are effective ways to reduce community exposure to tobacco products and marketing. Policies that impact what can be sold in stores near schools may also reduce youth smoking initiation. Check out information on using licensing and zoning to reduce retailer density

Learn more about Latinx communities and tobacco use

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids – Hispanic/Latino Fact Sheet