Cuba Smoking Statistics: Officials Reveal 24 Percent Over Age 15 Are Smokers! Shutterstock/alexandro900

Cubans have a smoking problem, according to official Cuban media who are reporting that a whopping 24 percent of Cubans aged 15 and older are frequent smokers. The high smoking rates amongst the population leaves half of all Cubans exposed to second hand smoke, according to the official AIN/ACN news agency.

Patricia Varona, an official with the Public Health Ministry, reportedly told local media that there is a gender disparity between female and male smokers -- the smoking rate in women is 16 percent and that number spikes to 31 percent in men. Even more troubling is the finding that 17 percent of teenagers between the age of 13 and 15 smoke.

Recently, a Rice University study, published in journal "Social Science & Medicine," researchers have discovered a unique correlation with being an immigrant and smoking habit. Mainly, Latino immigrants (and Asian immigrants) were more likely to smoke and the longer they stayed in the United States, the more often they engaged in the life-threatening habit.

The study, titled "Gender, Acculturation and Smoking Behavior Among U.S. Asian and Latino Immigrants," also found that Latino immigrant men were twice as likely to smoke than Latino immigrant women. The silver lining found from the study is that when these immigrants got a better grasp of the English language and assimilated with the local culture, there was a reduction in smoking. Why is that the case? The authors note that “immigrants who form strong connections to the U.S. through English-language proficiency and citizenship acquisition benefit in terms of reduced smoking.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of death for Hispanics/Latinos in the United States is cigarette smoking. And among the smoking Hispanic/Latino population, smoking is more prevalent in the male population (17 percent) than women (8.6 percent).

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