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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Racial Differences in Cigarette Smoking Among Homeless Youth.

Thursday, May 12, 2016  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Daniela Golinelli, Joan S. Tucker, William G. Shadel.
Racial Differences in Cigarette Smoking Among Homeless Youth.
Nicotine Tob Res (2016)doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw131First published online: May 9, 2016
Several studies have reported pronounced racial/ethnic differences in smoking behavior among homeless youth. Better understanding the factors underlying racial/ethnic differences in daily smoking among homeless youth may help inform programs to reduce smoking in this population. Data come from a probability sample of homeless youth in Los Angeles County collected between 2008 and 2009. The sample includes 116 African American, 99 Hispanic, and 119 White youth with ages ranging from 13 to 24. Chi-square tests were used to test for differences in daily smoking among African American, Hispanic, and White youth. Propensity score and doubly robust methods were used to produce a less biased estimate of the association between daily smoking and race/ethnicity after having removed the effect of potential confounders.
The daily smoking rate for White youth was 70.1%, more than 31 percentage points than the rates for either African American or Hispanic youth. Propensity score analysis revealed that the majority of the racial/ethnic differences in smoking rates could be explained by differences in homelessness severity, although background characteristics and comorbidity were relevant as well. As programs are developed to reduce smoking among homeless youth, results suggest that additional outreach may be needed to engage White youth in services. Also, smoking prevention programs may benefit from incorporating a social network-based approach that assists youth in fostering relationships with lower-risk peers, as well as addressing other forms of substance use. Incorporating these elements may help reduce the large racial/ethnic disparities in daily smoking among homeless youth.

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