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Smoking among migrants is known to differ from the host population, but migrants' smoking is rarely ever compared to the prevalence of smoking in their country of origin. The goal of this study is to compare the smoking prevalence among migrants to that of both the US-born population and the countries of origin. Further analyses assess the influence of sex, age at time of entry to the US and education level. Data of 248,726 US-born and migrants from 14 countries were obtained from the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) from 2006-2007. Data on 108,653 respondents from the corresponding countries of origin were taken from the World Health Survey (WHS) from 2002-2005. The prevalence of smoking among migrants (men: 14.2%, women: 4.1%) was lower than both the US-born group (men: 21.4%, women: 18.1%) and countries of origin (men: 39.4%, women: 11.0%). The gender gap among migrants was smaller than in the countries of origin. Age at time of entry to the US was not related to smoking prevalence for migrants. The risk of smoking for high-educated migrants was closer to their US counterparts. The smoking prevalence among migrants is consistently lower than both the country of origin levels and the US level. The theory of segmented assimilation is supported by some results of this study, but not all. Other mechanisms that might influence the smoking prevalence among migrants are the 'healthy migrant effect' or the stage of the smoking epidemic at the time of migration.


Jizzo R Bosdriesz, Nienke Lichthart, Margot I Witvliet, Wim B Busschers, Karien Stronks, Anton E Kunst. Smoking prevalence among migrants in the US compared to the US-born and the population in countries of origin. PloS one. 2013;8(3):e58654

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PMID: 23520525

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