Tendency to Smoke May Be Related to Race, Study Finds

December 17, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. ethnicity / ɛθˈnɪs ɪ ti / (n.) – association to a group with a certain culture, language, and sometimes, physical qualities
Example: His skin color and accent show his Hispanic ethnicity.

2. minority / mɪˈnɔr ɪ ti / (adj.) – relating to people who form the smaller part of a big group
Example: Some minority groups rallied to ask for equal rights.

3. fluctuate / ˈflʌk tʃuˌeɪt / (v.) – to frequently change in value, degree, etc.
Example: The sea water levels fluctuate throughout the day.

4. tempt / tɛmpt / (v.) – to attract someone to do something that is illegal or wrong
Example: Her friends tempted her to go for a drink on her exam week.

5. backing / ˈbæk ɪŋ / (n.) – support or help
Example: His findings have strong backing from previous studies.


Read the text below.
A recent US study suggests that children’s vulnerability to smoking may be connected to their ethnicity.

The study was headed by Sherine El-Toukhy, who works for the minority health branch of the US National Institutes of Health. The study analyzed survey data gathered from 1999 to 2014 from 144,000 youths aged 9 to 21. The participants were either white, African-American, or Hispanic. None of the participants had ever smoked prior to taking the survey.

The questionnaire measured how vulnerable the participants were to try smoking. Results revealed that through the years, the percentage of white children who were vulnerable remained at 21%. Meanwhile, the numbers fluctuated for African-American children, from 21% in 1999, to 17% in 2003, and then to 20% in 2014.

On the other hand, the data showed a steady rise in smoking vulnerability among Hispanic youth. The percentage rose from 22% in 1999, to 28% by 2014. Furthermore, the data revealed that children who were most tempted to smoke are aged 12 to 16 years old.

El-Toukhy said that the findings have strong backing from previous research. However, the researchers also admitted that the study has several limitations. For instance, it did not explain the relationship between the children’s ethnicity and their vulnerability to smoking. The researchers said that a possible explanation is that some children may be more exposed to tobacco sellers or smokers in their communities compared to others.

Despite its limitations, the study’s results are still important in reducing smoking among children. The researchers said that finding out who is more susceptible to smoking at an early age may help in future prevention efforts.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What initiatives must the government start to ensure that young people will not smoke?
·         If a person starts smoking, who do you think is more responsible: the person or the people who influenced him or her? Explain.

Discussion B

·         Why do people continue smoking despite knowing its dangers?
·         What can be done to discourage people from buying cigarettes?

December 17, 2016