Young Latino men who were born in the United States, have higher levels of education and speak mostly English at home are more likely to use electronic cigarettes, a recent Rutgers study found.
The use of e-cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), has grown rapidly in the United States since 2014.
The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine Open, examined individuals from six distinct Latino backgrounds who are current and former users of e-cigarettes.
Previous evidence has found that non-Hispanic white adults use tobacco more than Latino adults, yet conventional cigarette use is more common among people of Puerto Rican and Cuban backgrounds, especially when compared with people of Mexican and Central or South American backgrounds.
This study found that Latino young adults who were born in the United States and speak mostly English are more likely to use tobacco products such as e-cigarettes.
“ENDS products represent a potential disruptive innovation to traditional tobacco use, with adolescents and young adults experimenting with e-cigarettes,” said lead author of the study Ayana April-Sanders, an instructor at the Rutgers School of Public Health, in a news release. “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 study analyzed 11,275 people of Latino backgrounds and found that 2% of adults were current ENDS users and about 10% were former users. Those of Puerto Rican and Mexican backgrounds were also found to be more likely to try ENDS than individuals of Dominican, Cuban, South American or Central American backgrounds. Researchers also found a high use of ENDS among participants under 45.
“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.”