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National Hispanic Heritage Month Repost

For the Hispanic individuals of Alaska, my apologies on not posting this earlier. We had some technical difficulties that got rid of some of the blog posts and this was one. I forgot to repost this with all the other ones that were no longer on the site.

September 15 – October 15 marks National Hispanic Heritage Month. This is an annual event to honor and celebrate the contributions and achievements of Hispanic Americans. This post will touch on housing, smoking and secondhand smoke among the Hispanic community.

(Developed by CDC/Creado por los CDC)


In 2019, about 18.4% of the US population were those who were Hispanic The average median household income for Hispanic households was $55,658 compared to $71,664 for white households.1 During the same year, just 19.7% of all renters were Hispanic. The percentage was almost 2x higher than the percentage of all homeowners who were Hispanic (10.2%).2 Comparatively, 75.1% of all homeowners and 51.8% of all renters were white.2

Homeownership can help individuals, regardless of race, avoid unwanted secondhand smoke. However, homeownership isn’t realistic for every individual who wants it. Every state, including Alaska, lacks affordable rental homes.3 This can make it challenging to save for buying a home. With a lower average median household income, Hispanics may face more difficulties saving for a home. Racial discrimination in real estate, lending practices, and federal housing policy can also make homeownership difficult for minorities.4 Rising housing costs can be another barrier to homeownership.

Therefore, to help reduce unwanted secondhand smoke exposure, multiunit housing entities can help create smokefree environments by adopting smokefree policies. These policies can encourage some who smoke to quit as well. If you are interested in learning more about smokefree polices, please contact the American Lung Association in Alaska at 907-931-5470 or email at

(Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Creado porlos Centros para el Control y la Prevencion de Enfermedades)

Smoking and Secondhand Smoke Exposure5,6,7,8

Hispanic American adults smoke at lower rates than every racial group except Asian Americans. Some disparities exist with Hispanic communities. They are:

  • Hispanics born in the U.S. are more likely to smoke than Hispanic adults who were born in another country and now live in the U.S.
  • Puerto Ricans are more likely to smoke than their Mexican and Dominican American counterparts.
  • Cuban Americans were most likely to smoke daily than other Hispanic Americans.

Hispanic American youth trends are:

  • Hispanic high school students were less likely to currently use cigarettes compare to high school students overall (3.8% of Hispanics vs. 5.8% overall)
  • Hispanic middle schoolers were more likely to currently use cigarettes compared to middle schoolers overall (3.1% of Hispanics vs 2.3% overall)
  • E-cigarette use trends were similar in that Hispanic higher schoolers were less likely to use than the overall rate and Hispanic middle schoolers were more likely to use than the overall rate

Secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmoking adults decreased from 27.7% in 2009 to 20.7% in 2017. Hispanics saw a decline in secondhand smoke exposure during this period. They see the lowest percentage of secondhand smoke exposure by race at 16.2% Secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmoking adults by race were:

  • African American: 41.5%
  • Asian American: 22.7%
  • White: 17.8%
  • Hispanic: 16.2%7

However, Hispanic youth do not see the same rates. About 25% of Hispanic youth aged 3-17 have been exposed to secondhand smoke. Those aged 3-11 were more likely to be exposed than those in the 12-17 age range (26% vs 23.4%). Compared to other races, Hispanic youth were the third most likely to be exposed.

(Source: Fuentes:

Health Impacts9,10,11

  • 43,000 Hispanic are diagnosed with a tobacco-related cancer each year
  • 18,000 Hispanic die from a tobacco-related cancer each year
  • 714 Hispanic babies died of low-birth weight and another 202 died of sudden infant death syndrome
    • Smoking can cause low-birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome
  • Four of the five leading causes of death among Hispanic Americans can be caused by smoking
  • Puerto Ricans are more likely to have asthma than any other racial/ethnic group, including Black Americans and other Hispanic ethnic groups
  • Hispanic children are more likely to die from asthma and visit the ER for asthma than white children

Additional Resources


  1. Hispanic/Latino – The Office of Minority Health (
  2. Who rents and who owns in the U.S. | Pew Research Center
  3. The Gap | National Low Income Housing Coalition (
  4. Racial Disparities Among Extremely Low-Income Renters | National Low Income Housing Coalition (
  5. Hispanic and Latino People and Commercial Tobacco Use: Health Disparities and Ways to Advance Health Equity | Smoking and Tobacco Use | CDC
  6. QuickStats: Trends in Secondhand Smoke Exposure Among Nonsmoking Adults, by Race and Hispanic Origin — National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, United States, 2009–2018 | MMWR (
  7. Tobacco use in the Hispanic/Latino American Community (
  8. NCHS Data Brief, Number 348, August 2019 (
  9. Hispanic Heritage Month | American Lung Association
  10. Hispanic/Latino – The Office of Minority Health (

Hispanic and Latino People Experience a Health Burden from Commercial Tobacco | Smoking and Tobacco Use | CDC

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