Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 23, Supplement 1, pp 37–44 | Cite as

Smoking and exposure to racial insults among multiethnic youth in Jujuy, Argentina

  • Ethel Alderete
  • Madalena Monteban
  • Steve Gregorich
  • Celia P. Kaplan
  • Raúl Mejía
  • Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable
Original paper



Exposure to racial insults among youth in Jujuy, Argentina, was examined as a factor associated with smoking behavior.


Youth sampled from eighth-grade classes in 27 randomly selected middle schools completed annual surveys in the ninth and tenth grades. Demographics, race/ethnicity (Indigenous/Amazonian, Indigenous/Andean, Indigenous unspecified group, Mixed European-Indigenous, European), cigarette smoking, and other attitudinal and behavioral factors were measured. Exposure to racial insults, measured in the ninth grade, was modeled to predict cigarette smoking in the previous 30 days (defined as current) in the tenth grade conditional on ninth grade smoking.


Of the 3,122 respondents, 35.5% reported exposure to racial insults and 33.8% were current smokers. Factors associated with racial insults were being male, indigenous language spoken at home, ever and current smoking, smoking in a ceremonial context, exposure to second-hand smoke at home, number of friends who smoke, having low expectations for the future, low identification with conforming role models, high identification with defiant role models, and depressive symptoms. Reported exposure to racial insults increased the risk of current smoking in the 10th grade among Indigenous Amazonian respondents (OR = 3.8; 95% CI 1.4–10.4) and among the Indigenous-unspecified group (OR = 1.8; 95% CI 1.1–2.8), but not among European or Indigenous Andean youth.


Exposure to racial insults is commonplace among youth in Jujuy. Evidence of a longitudinal effect of ninth-grade racial insults on tenth-grade smoking rates provides support for an association of racial insults with smoking behavior.


Discrimination Tobacco use Adolescents Latin America Indigenous 



This research was funded by grant no. TW05935 from the Tobacco Research Network Program, Fogarty International Center, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Drug Abuse, and National Institutes of Health and by grant no. 001726-037 from Research on International Tobacco Control, International Development Research Center, Canada. We thank Dana Nickleach for invaluable help in data analysis, Constanza Almiron for critical support in survey development and data management, Marina Bejarano, Susana Durán y Carina Delgado who administered surveys and supported the research work in Jujuy, and Elvira Gomez, Cambria Garrell, and Cecilia Populus-Eudave for administrative and research support at UCSF.

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest for any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ethel Alderete
    • 1
  • Madalena Monteban
    • 2
  • Steve Gregorich
    • 3
  • Celia P. Kaplan
    • 3
  • Raúl Mejía
    • 4
  • Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable
    • 3
  1. 1.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología RegionalUniversidad Nacional de JujuyJujuyArgentina
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Medical Effectiveness Research Center for Diverse PopulationsUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Universidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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