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Smoking prevention for Asian-American college students

Institution: Veterans Medical Research Foundation
Investigator(s): Mark Myers, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2003 (Cycle 12) Grant #: 12RT-0004 Award: $679,368
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: Research Project Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Asian Americans account for the third largest and fastest growing ethnic minority group in California. As a whole, Asian American adolescents smoke less than non-Asian adolescents, but there are important gender and ethnic subgroup differences among Asian youth: Males smoke more than females and, for example, Koreans smoke more than Chinese. Among Asian American adults, however, the smoking rates of some subgroups (in particular, among males) are higher than the rates of non-Asians. At this time little is known regarding factors that influence smoking behaviors among ethnic minority populations in the United States, with even less known regarding between-cultural variations of such influences. In addition, college students represent an understudied population for which increased prevalence of smoking has been reported and for whom little information is available relevant to the design of tobacco focused interventions.

This study proposes to continue a currently funded project (TRDRP 10RT-0142) designed to identify cultural variations in smoking behavior between Chinese American and Korean American college students attending the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The currently funded project evaluates students during their first year of college when they are 18-19 years old and re-evaluates them 15 months later during their second year in college, in an attempt to understand various factors that increase an individual’s risk for smoking as well as factors that protect against smoking. This proposed study will continue evaluation of these students during their third and fourth years of college to examine changes in their smoking behavior over time. A primary focus of the proposed study is to examine factors that predict the initiation and progression of tobacco use during the four years of college attendance. The knowledge gained from this study will contribute to understanding why young adults of Chinese and Korean heritage start to smoke, why some of them quit, and why many of them keep smoking. In addition, this study will provide information that can be used to develop interventions targeted to prevent and reduce smoking behavior in college students of Chinese and Korean heritage.