Ethnic Background, Parental Education, and Tobacco Curiosity among US Adolescents

Document Type : Original Article


1 Charles R. Drew University

2 MDRs Center

3 1731 E 120th St # L



Background: Although high parental education reduces adolescents’ tobacco use, this effect may be weaker for ethnic minorities than non-Latino White adolescents. It is unknown whether the association between parental education and curiosity about tobacco in adolescents also varies by ethnicity. Aim: To study the association between parental education at baseline and adolescents' subsequent tobacco curiosity overall and by ethnicity. Methods: The current study used four years of follow-up data from the PATH-Adolescents) study. All participants were 12 to 17-year-old non-smokers at baseline and were successfully followed for four years (n = 3109). The outcome of interest was curiosity about (traditional and electronic) cigarettes in year four. The predictor of interest was baseline parental education, the covariates were age, sex, and parental marital status at baseline, and the moderator was ethnicity. Results: According to our linear regressions, higher parental education at baseline was predictive of adolescents' subsequent tobacco curiosity at year four; however, this association was weaker for Latino than non-Latino adolescents. We did not find a significant difference in the effect of baseline parental education on subsequent tobacco curiosity of White and African American adolescents. Our stratified models also showed that higher parental education was associated with lower tobacco curiosity for non-Latino but not for Latino adolescents. Conclusion: The effect of high parental education on tobacco curiosity differs between Latino and non-Latino adolescents.