For Latino Smokers, Quitting is about Family, Culture


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Beatrice, a Latina mom of two, quit smoking in her late 30s.

Her sons were her inspiration.

“When my son was 11, he wrote me a letter and in it he asked me to quit smoking,” said Beatrice, who started smoking at age 7, in a video segment on why she quit. “And when I was going through the process of quitting, that letter was very motivating for me. I want to be here for my family.”

Beatrice, who tells her story in the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers video series, is an example of how campaigns can encourage Latinos to quit smoking by focusing on cultural differences, language, and the importance of family, experts say, according to a report by American Heart Association News.

Smoking rates vary among Latino ethnic groups.

Although smoking rates are lower among U.S. Latinos overall compared to whites and blacks, U.S. Puerto Ricans and Cubans have higher rates and are much less likely to quit smoking than U.S. Mexicans and Central or South Americans, AHA News reports.

Bilingual campaigns from CDC and the National Cancer Institute aim to encourage Latinos to quit smoking for their families, health, and other reasons.

In South Texas, where smoking rates are high among Mexican Americans, Quitxt is a free English or Spanish text-message service that turns a mobile phone into a personal coach to help you quit smoking, using interactive and entertaining texts, online support, and music and videos from researchers at UT Health San Antonio.

Quitxt‘s culturally tailored text messages and online support help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, finding things to do instead of smoking, handling stress, and more.

To join in English, text “iquit” to 57682 or visit

To join in Spanish, text “lodejo” to 57682 or visit

“Text-message applications have scientifically proven to roughly double one’s odds of quitting smoking, so we developed Quitxt specifically for young adult Latinos to help them quit for good,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, study leader and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.

Read more about Latinos and smoking in English or Spanish from AHA News.

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