Smoking among Asian Americans: acculturation and gender in the context of tobacco control policies in New York City

Health Promot Pract. 2013 Sep;14(5 Suppl):18S-28S. doi: 10.1177/1524839913485757. Epub 2013 May 10.


New York City (NYC) has experienced significant decline in smoking prevalence since its antismoking campaign; however, the rates among NYC's Asian communities have persisted since 2002. Using combined data from the REACH US Risk Factor Survey (2009-2011), this article examined ethnic- and gender-specific smoking behaviors and the effects of acculturation and location of residence on cigarette smoking behavior among Chinese, Korean, Asian Indians, and other Asian Americans. Results indicated that current smoking prevalence was higher for men than women among all four groups. Korean men and women had the highest current smoking rates whereas Indians had the lowest among the four subgroups. Asian American women reporting speaking only English at home had higher current smoking prevalence, but this was not observed for men. Living in Sunset Park, an emerging Asian ethnic enclave, was associated with higher odds of smoking than living in other locations in NYC. In conclusion, smoking prevalence varied across gender and ethnic subgroups among Asian Americans in NYC. A "one-size-fits-all" type of intervention strategy for "pan-Asians" could not be effective. Community-based culturally appropriate and gender-specific interventions for smoking cessation might be an option for Asian Americans residing in linguistically isolated ethnic enclaves.

Keywords: health promotion; health research; minority health; tobacco prevention and control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult