Racial/Ethnic and Nativity Patterns of U.S. Adolescent
and Young Adult Smoking
Joseph T. Lariscy
Robert A. Hummer
Received: 4 August 2011 / Accepted: 6 March 2013 / Published online: 17 March 2013
Ó Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013
Abstract We document racial/ethnic and nativity differences in U.S. smoking
patterns among adolescents and young adults using the 2006 Tobacco Use Sup-
plement to the Current Population Survey (n = 44,202). Stratifying the sample by
nativity status within ﬁve racial/ethnic groups (Asian American, Mexican–Ameri-
can, other Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic white), and further by
sex and age, we compare self-reports of lifetime smoking across groups. U.S.-born
non-Hispanic whites, particularly men, report smoking more than individuals in
other racial/ethnic/nativity groups. Some groups of young women (e.g., foreign-
born and U.S.-born Asian Americans, foreign-born and U.S.-born Mexican–
Americans, and foreign-born blacks) report extremely low levels of smoking.
Foreign-born females in all of the 25–34 year old racial/ethnic groups exhibit
greater proportions of never smoking than their U.S.-born counterparts. Heavy/
moderate and light/intermittent smoking is generally higher in the older age group
among U.S.-born males and females, whereas smoking among the foreign-born of
both sexes is low at younger ages and remains low at older ages. Taken together,
these ﬁndings highlight the importance of considering both race/ethnicity and
nativity in assessments of smoking patterns and in strategies to reduce overall U.S.
smoking prevalence and smoking-attributable health disparities.
Keywords Race/ethnicity Á Nativity Á Smoking Á Adolescents Á Young adults
B. Wade (&)
Department of Sociology, Rice University, 6100 S. Main Street, Houston, TX 77005, USA
J. T. Lariscy Á R. A. Hummer
Population Research Center and Department of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin, 305 E.
23rd St, G1800, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Popul Res Policy Rev (2013) 32:353–371