Social Environmental Influences on Smoking and Cessation: Qualitative Perspectives Among Chinese-Speaking Smokers and Nonsmokers in California

J Immigr Minor Health. 2017 Dec;19(6):1404-1411. doi: 10.1007/s10903-016-0358-6.


This qualitative study examines the social environmental influences on smoking and cessation from the perspectives of Chinese smokers and household nonsmokers in California. Seven focus groups were conducted with 63 participants. Three culturally influenced levels of potential intervention emerged from constant comparative analysis. At the individual level, participants focused more on irritating odor than health harms of exposure and had inaccurate beliefs about harms of smoking and cessation. At the relational level, peers kept smokers connected to pro-smoking norms. There was conflict in the home about smoking and failed cessation, but smokers recognized the benefits of cessation for family harmony and children's health. Physicians encouraged cessation but this tended to be insufficient to prompt action unless a smoker felt ill. At the societal level, participants recognized changes in social acceptability and environmental regulation of smoking upon immigration. Better implementation of smokefree policies, plus culturally nuanced strategies for equipping both nonsmokers and smokers to become smokefree, are needed.

Keywords: Cessation; Chinese American; Secondhand smoke; Tobacco use.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian Americans / psychology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • China / ethnology
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peer Group
  • Smokers / psychology*
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Smoking Cessation / ethnology*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Social Environment*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution