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Cessation and Environmental Smoking among Korean Americans

Institution: University of Southern California
Investigator(s): Jimi Huh, M.A.
Award Cycle: 2010 (Cycle 19) Grant #: 19FT-0089H Award: $161,060
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

Initial Award Abstract
National average smoking rates show that Asians in the U.S. have substantially lower smoking rates (11-15%), compared with the general population (22%). Perhaps due to this reason, tobacco-related research has been scant with respect to Asian populations in the U.S. However, national-level surveys overlook important subethnic groups variations in tobacco use. In particular, Korean Americans have the highest smoking rates among males (36.7%) and overall lower quit rates, compared to other Asian groups. Also, Korean male immigrants who have less familiarity with the mainstream culture are more likely to smoke and are less likely to quit than those men who have more familiarity. Nevertheless, there is a lack of knowledge about status of tobacco cessation among Korean Americans, especially pertaining to specific cessation methods used and cultural factors influencing smoking cessation. Similarly, information about habits relating to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure (i.e., second/thirdhand smoking) among Korean Americans is scarce. Given the high smoking rates among Koreans in the U.S., health implication of ETS exposure of other Korean Americans calls for further investigation. Moreover, despite the continued increase in smoking rates of emerging adults (18-24 years), it is not clear whether this increased smoking rates applies to Korean Americans. Therefore, the proposed study will target Korean American emerging adults to study cessation and habits and attitudes relating to ETS exposure. The current study will consist of two phases. In Phase 1, a series of focus group discussion sessions will be conducted to identify culturally-unique factors relating to tobacco cessation and ETS exposure. In Phase 2, an online survey will be conducted. Self-identifying Koreans/Korean Americans, 18-24 years of age (i.e., emerging adults), regardless of smoking status, will be targeted. The results of the proposed study will elucidate disparities in smoking cessation, ETS exposure, habits and beliefs relating to ETS among Korean American emerging adults. Also, results will help identify unique cultural factors of such disparities. Finally, the study results will help health-care providers who serve Korean communities to design more effective and culturally-tailored health communication programs regarding smoking cessation and ETS prevention in California.