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Preventing Tobacco Use in Young Latino Workers in Texas Project

Grant: RFA CD-04-002


The purpose of this 36-month project is to reduce tobacco use among high-risk young Latino workers aged 18 to 25, living in the East End District of Houston, Texas. The three-year project combined mass media and interpersonal communication delivered by peer workers that outreach to the young Latinos. Broadcast media included radio, billboards, posters and other print materials. Peer communications relied on direct interpersonal contact augmented by small media (e.g., flyers and newsletters) distributed through workplaces, classrooms (i.e., GED, ESL, and vocational class settings), social service agencies, community locations and events, and through other community networks. Messages were theory-based objectives using “best practices” formative procedures (e.g., focus groups, pre-testing) and other forms of audience analysis prior to finalization of all media products and communication strategies. The results were an orchestrated mix of media and interpersonal, tailored and culturally appropriate messages delivered over a 2-year intervention period. The research design involved two experimental groups to test cumulative interaction effects, including 1) exposure to mass media messages alone and 2) exposure to mass media plus peer networking. Results will be compared with a similar but non-intervention community in Dallas’ Southwest District. Population surveys are being employed to measure the study’s impact among samples of young Latino adult workers from these communities.


  • Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH
    IHPR, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio


  • Luis Velez, MD, PhD
    IHPR, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio


  • Patricia Chalela, DrPH
    IHPR, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • Kipling Gallion, MA
    IHPR, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio


  • Loriana Espinel, Community Outreach Coordinator, IHPR
  • Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans
  • Mexican Consulate
  • Local Hispanic Union
  • Ripley House
  • Houston Public Library
  • University of Texas at Austin’s School of Communication’s Office for Survey Research


Young Latino workers in Houston’s East End District of Houston, a 16-square-mile area with Latino neighborhoods and industrial work sites


Participants will be exposed to information on positive health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding tobacco prevention and control. They may, in turn, discuss these issues with family friends and co-workers, increasing the number of individuals exposed to this information. Even cohort participants have been shown to benefit from periodic surveys since the survey itself has an intervention effect. The study is its final stages, and a follow-up survey is underway.


  • Stephenson, MT, Velez, LF, Chalela, P, Ramirez, A, & Hoyle, RH. 2007. The reliability and validity of the Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS-8) with young adult Latino workers: implications for tobacco and alcohol disparity research. Addiction, 102, (Suppl. 2) 79-91.
  • Velez, LF, Chalela, P.  2007. Advocacy Training Workshop: Training manual. Institute for Health Promotion Research, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.