Health Program



A plant which its leaves have high levels of the addictive chemical nicotine. The leaves can be smoked in cigarettes, cigars, and smoking pipes, put on the gums for dipping and chewing tobacco, or to breathe in as snuff. The leaves possess several cancer-causing chemicals, and the use of tobacco and the contact with secondhand tobacco smoke have been related to various types of cancer and other diseases.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Health Effects in Hispanics

According to the Tobacco Information and Prevention Source smoking is the result for 87% of lung cancer deaths in the United States. Inclusive, lung cancer is the foremost cause of cancer deaths among Hispanics. Lung cancer deaths are about three times higher for Hispanic men (23.1 per 100,000) than for Hispanic women (7.7 per 100,000).

The rate of lung cancer deaths per 100,000 was found to be higher among Cuban American men (33.7) than among Puerto Rican (28.3) and Mexican American (21.9) men.

Coronary heart disease is the principal cause of death for Hispanics living in the United States. Among Hispanic subgroups in 1992-1994, death count for coronary heart disease were 82 per 100,000 for Mexican American men and 44.2 per 100,000 for Mexican American women, 118.6 per 100,000 for Puerto Rican men and 67.3 per 100,000 for Puerto Rican woman, and 95.2 per 100,000 for Cuban men and 42.4 per 100,000 for Cuban women.

Source: National Cancer Institute. Information last reviewed on January 2005.

Causes of Smoking

Tobacco smoking causes several types of cancers, such as: cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, lung esophagus, pancreas, kidney, and bladder. Smoking also causes cancer of the stomach, cervix, kidneys, pancreas, and acute myeloid leukemia (cancer in the blood).

Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. People who smoke are at about 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers. Smoking cigarettes causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80% in women.

Utilizing both cigarettes and alcohol increases the causes of larynx cancer. Some chemicals in tobacco smoke can harm important genes that control the growth of cells and lead to cancer.