Background: This study seeks to measure exposure to secondhand smoke and to evaluate potential differences in knowledge, attitudes, and tolerance of secondhand smoke among subgroups of Asian Americans in the Delaware Valley region of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1374 Asian Americans, which included Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and Cambodians. The sample was selected by using a stratified-cluster proportional sampling technique. Study measures included demographic variables, smoking status, exposure to secondhand smoke, and knowledge, attitudes, and behavior regarding secondhand smoke. Data were analyzed using SPSS.
Results: Involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke remains a common public health hazard among Asian Americans, with 38.3% reporting exposure at home and 40.3% at the worksite. Knowledge and tolerance differed significantly by ethnic groups, gender, education, and smoking status. Knowledge level had a significant effect on tolerance behavior.
Conclusions: Findings indicate an urgent need for a smoke-free policy at home, in the work place, and in public areas. Tobacco prevention/intervention and cessation programs for Asian Americans should emphasize the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke and promote a smoke-free environment. Further studies are needed to explore the unexplained differences in tolerance levels regarding secondhand smoke across ethnic groups.