Social Support Key in Helping Latinos Quit Smoking, Study Finds

Support from a partner improves the chance that Latinos will successfully quit smoking, a new study suggests. This support can also help counteract the negative effect that depression can have on quitting smoking.

According to Science Daily, 15.8 percent of Latinos smoke. Cubans are the most likely to smoke, followed by American-born Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Central and South Americans, immigrant Mexicans and Dominicans. The article notes that Latinos have slightly higher-than-average rates of depressive symptoms compared with other racial and ethnic groups.

The study, published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, included 131 Latino smokers who said they smoked an average of 10.8 cigarettes a day. The researchers found that 30 percent of participants with a partner quit smoking, compared with 14.3 percent of those without a partner. Forty-three percent of those with high levels of partner support quit smoking, compared with 17.4 percent of those with low levels of partners support.

The study also found that among study participants without a partner, 37 percent of those who had low levels of depressive symptoms quit smoking, compared with 9 percent of those with high levels of depression. However, having depressive symptoms did not affect quit rates among those with a partner. This suggests that just having a partner, whether that person offers positive or negative support, acts as a buffer against depressive symptoms and their effect on smoking cessation, the researchers say.

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