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Tobacco cessation and prevention for underserved Arab Americans: A pilot study

Institution: PIRE California, Inc.
Investigator(s): Juliet Lee,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 29) Grant #: T29IP0508 Award: $635,235
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: High Impact Pilot Award

Initial Award Abstract
For our High Impact Pilot study we propose to develop a new program to help Arab Americans quit smoking cigarettes and narghile (also called hookah, or waterpipe). Arab Americans are often excluded from community health studies, despite Arab American presence in the US for over a century. Some studies show that as many as 60% of adult Arab Americans smoke, compared to 16% of all US adults. In many Arab countries, cigarette smoking is normal for men, and narghile smoking may be normal for men and women. Cigarette smoking increases risk for heart and lung disease and other illnesses for people who smoke, and for their household members if they smoke at home. Narghiles have many of the same risks as cigarettes, but people may not know this. Of the 3.5 million Arab Americans, the largest percent live in California. In the East Bay Area, where there are many Arab Americans and Arab immigrants from lower-income countries (for example Yemen) there are no health clinics devoted to Arab Americans. There are low-cost and free resources to help smokers quit and prevent secondhand smoke harms. Stress and worries about discrimination, including rising Islamophobia, may make it harder for Arab Americans to quit smoking and to seek help for quitting. However, in the Bay Area there are strong social networks and dedicated Arab American community organizations and leaders. Talking with a trained medical helper can help people change their habits. There are places where Arab Americans can gather together to talk about problems and how to improve their lives. Community leaders can help us organize a smoking awareness, cessation, and prevention program in these places. With collaboration and mutual respect, we can build a good partnership to do this work. We propose to (1) Develop a Community Advisory Board of Arab American leaders and healthcare providers; (2) Collect information from the community about cigarette and narghile use, and about how they might be helped to cut back and quit smoking, as well as collect information about what resources are available and how to use them; and (3) Design and test a pilot project to see if we can help Arab Americans quit and reduce home smoking. If this project works well, we can develop a next study that will use the program to help reduce smoking for more Arab Americans in the Bay Area and other California cities.