Kathleen Kelly is excited to help Latino youth stop smoking.
Kelly, a marketing professor for CSU’s College of Business,
received a $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
to study tobacco prevention for Latino youth.
Recent studies done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services have found an increase in the tobacco use among Latino
Kelly has been working to stop the increase of tobacco use among
Latino youth. She said a possible reason for the increase is a
“double dose of advertisement” in many Mexican-border towns.
Much of Kelly’s research is focused on border communities where
teens get advertisements aimed at the Latino community as well as
advertisements aimed at the non-minority community.
Latino youths may also be more likely to begin smoking as they
acculturate to an American lifestyle, Kelly said.
Kelly and her co-workers are working to find what kind of
advertising will counteract the tobacco industry’s advertising.
Language is one of Kelly’s more important research topics.
Researchers are trying to discover which language would best
communicate to the youths they are trying to reach: Spanish,
English or possibly Spanglish?
Spanglish is a term used to describe the mix between English and
Spanish. Though this may not be grammatically correct, it may be
the best way to help teens learn, Kelly said.
“Many kids tend to speak this way and it may be the language
that gets results,” Kelly said. “We need to find the language that
will resonate most with them.”
The research funded by the grant will start next spring and will
focus on youth from border communities.
The researchers plan to expose some of the teens to Spanish
advertising, some to English and some to Spanglish. They will
collect reactions, opinions and attitudes on each and compare the
results, as well as collect data on their current smoking
“It’s a great opportunity to educate teens about the dangers of
tobacco,” said Rich Salas, assistant director of El Centro Student
Services. “I applaud her efforts.”
“This grant will help a lot,” Kelly said. “The information will
help guide a critical issue and develop a lot of educational
Kelly is hoping to expand her project beyond just border
“I’m hoping to generalize my research to different areas –
expanding it from the border communities to other places it could
possibly have a positive effect on, such as Northern Colorado,” she