Latinos and Tobacco Use in New Jersey

Recent surveys in New Jersey suggest that cigarette use is high among Hispanic men (23.1%) and is growing quickly among young people of Hispanic origin. In middle schools, for example, 35.6% of Hispanics have tried smoking cigarettes as compared to 18.1% of non-Hispanic White students and 31.1% of non-Hispanic Black students. This is of particular concern in New Brunswick, NJ, where Hispanics make up 50% of the population and 40% of Hispanics are under 18 years of age. As smoking rates have declined among the White, non-Hispanic population, the tobacco industry has been specifically targeting cultural and ethnic minorities through product development, packaging, pricing, advertising and promotional activities. In 2002, total advertising and promotion by the five major tobacco companies was the highest ever, reported at $12.5 billion.

These marketing efforts by tobacco companies have been phenomenally successful as indicated by the proportion of younger Latinos, especially women, who are now smoking --increasing health problems associated with tobacco use.

This is an area of public health concern as the Latino population continues to grow in the United States.


Claribel Beltrez Community Outreach Coordinator
125 Paterson Street, Suite 2300 | New Brunswick, NJ 08903 | Phone 732 235-8222 | Fax 732 235-7144