OBJECTIVE: To identify the perceptions that two communities of urban Hispanics have of various sources and channels of information regarding cigarette smoking and to compare them with those of non-Hispanic whites. DESIGN: Random samples of subjects of both ethnic groups and of both genders were surveyed by telephone to determine the perceived credibility and motivating power of 13 different channels of information and of 14 different sources of cigarette smoking information. SUBJECTS: 544 Hispanics and 542 non-Hispanic whites from San Francisco, California and Houston, Texas, 18-65 years in age, of both genders. RESULTS: Differences in the proportion of respondents assigning various perceived qualities to sources and channels of information regarding cigarette smoking were found to exist across ethnic groups (Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites); the respondents' gender (particularly among Hispanics); and the acculturation level of the Hispanic respondents. Nevertheless, there was a cluster of channels (printed media and television news) and of sources (physicians, people with cancer, friends, and peers) that were positively evaluated by large proportions of the respondents in both ethnic groups. CONCLUSIONS: Hispanics differ from non-Hispanic whites in their evaluation of various possible sources and channels of information about tobacco control. Culturally appropriate interventions for Hispanics need to be designed so as to use those channels and sources of information that are more positively perceived by Hispanics.
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