Latinx & POS Tobacco in the US
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.
In 2020, data from the National Health Interview Survey showed that 11.7% of people who are Hispanic in the US used some form of tobacco product. However, according to the CDC, people who are US-born Latinx are more likely to use tobacco products than people who are 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 people who are Latinx and white identified actually reported smoking less than people who are non-Latinx and white, 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 people who are Latinx was 13.5%, but 21.6% of people who are Puerto Rican, 18.2% of people who are Cubans, 13% of people who are Mexicans, and 9.2% of people who are Central or South Americans are current smokers.3
A 2014 study in urban areas like Chicago, Miami, San Diego, and the Bronx found smoking rates as high as 35% among men who are Puerto Rican (32.6% for women who are Puerto Rican) and 31.3% for men who are Cuban men (21.9% for women who are Cuban).4
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
Truth Initiative – Tobacco Use in the Hispanic/Latino American Community