Smoking Messages Miss Asian Americans

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Asian Americans and Cigarette Smoking

Cigarettes are a particular problem among Asian-American immigrants, where smoking has been estimated to be more than 10 percent above the national average.

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Yet for many Korean-American immigrants, the social benefits of cigarettes may trump any health concerns, according to a new baseline study of Korean smokers from the Center for Asian Health at Temple University, conducted by Grace Ma, PhD, professor of public health and director of the Center.

The study involved one hundred Korean smokers who were beginning a smoking cessation treatment program at the Center. The majority were first-generation immigrants, 61 percent of whom were heavy smokers. Results showed that younger immigrants with more education exhibited more initiative and interest in quitting. As a group, however, about 69 percent had made no attempts to quit in the past three months, while 59 percent had not tried to stop smoking in the past twelve months.

Despite the importance given to quitting smoking in the U.S., Ma says few cigarette cessation programs have targeted Asian immigrants. Along with ingrained social and cultural habits which may encourage cigarette smoking

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