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'Asians, Latinos smoke more after migrating to US'

Posted on Aug 12 2014 | IANS

New York, Aug 12 : For Asians and Latinos, migrating to the US to chase the American dream may come at a cost: their health.

Researchers have found that there tends to be a rise in unhealthy behaviour like smoking after migration, especially among Asian women.

"In particular, women's smoking behaviour tends to increase more after migration to the US than men," said lead researcher Bridget Gorman, a professor of sociology at Rice University in the US.

"The rise in smoking among women may be due to differences in smoking stigma that exist for women in Latin America and especially Asia," Gorman added.

The study also noted that the immigrant men continued to surpass women, both in terms of prevalence and frequency of smoking.

Smoking prevalence among Asian immigrant men was more than four times that of Asian immigrant women (30.4 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively).

Among Latino immigrants, men's smoking prevalence was more than twice that of women's (29.5 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively).

What made things even worse was the finding that smoking increases with duration of US residence among Asian immigrants (both prevalence and frequency) and among Latino immigrants (frequency only).

However, the study also found that independent of time spent in the US, immigrants who form strong connections to the US through English-language proficiency and citizenship acquisition benefit in terms of reduced smoking.

It used a sample of 3,249 Asian and Latino migrant adults included in the 2002-2003 National Latino and Asian American Study.

The findings appeared in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

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