Purpose: Tobacco marketing campaigns target distinct psychographic segments of the population. We describe psychographic segments among Vietnamese-American youth and their relationship to smoking behavior.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey of 411 Vietnamese-American young people (aged 14-24 years). Cluster analysis was performed to describe different population segments.
Results: We identified four segments, categorized as follows: risk seekers, stressed pessimists, optimistic achievers, and sedentary well-behaved individuals. The risk seekers and stressed pessimists reported that they had tried smoking at some time (60% and 53%, respectively) in greater proportions than the other two segments (25% and 24%); and 20% of risk seekers and 22% of stressed pessimists were current smokers compared with 2% of the other clusters. In comparison to the other groups, the risk seekers more frequently went to bars and clubs, and their friends engaged in risky behavior. They agreed that secondhand smoke was dangerous, but accepted ventilation as an alternative to smoke-free policies more frequently than the other groups. The stressed pessimists had negative views of the future, did not value physical fitness, and doubted the dangers of secondhand smoke. Optimistic achievers were active in sports and student activities, were optimistic about future achievements, prioritized good nutrition, and supported smoke-free policies. The sedentary well-behaved group had well-behaved friends, did not value physical fitness, strongly opposed smoking, and supported smoke-free policies.
Conclusion: Different segments of the Vietnamese-American population have different attitudes and smoking risk, which may facilitate targeted tobacco control message development. Future research should address whether similar psychographic segments exist in other ethnic populations.