23% of local Asians smoke compared to 18% of whites

New York City is telling Chinese men to cut smoking after seeing a rise in lung cancer related deaths among Asian men.

As reported by the New York Times, New York City is trying to help Chinese men to cut smoking.

New York City’s health department has launched a public service ad aimed specifically towards Chinese men. The campaign videos shows men posing with their children or with their wives or girlfriends before fading into grey smoke.

“Every cigarette puff reduces your years shared with your loved ones,” the announcer says in Mandarin. “Stop wasting your precious life, and quit smoking now.”

A 70% increase in lung cancer deaths among Asian men over the last 15 years has been recorded, whilst other ethnic groups have seen a decline.

23% of local Asians smoke according to the a department study of the health of Asian New Yorkers. 18% of whites, 17% of Hispanics and 14% of blacks smoke.

Korean an Chinese smoke at higher rates than average. South Asians and Filipinos smoke the least. Chinese men are the city’s heaviest smokers, making up 27%. Only 4% of Asian women smoke.

Regina F Lee, chair of the Asian-American Smoke-Free Community Partnership said cultural norms from China persist in New York because, “Sixty percent of men there smoke, while there is a stigma to women smoking.”

Chinese-speakers also have difficulty in receiving help from the city including free nicotine patches and gum. Quit-smoking hotlines are usually offered in English.

“So we were delighted when the health department proposed this,” Lee said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a new hotline (1-800-838-89170) as part of the national Asian Smokers’ Quitline. Help is offered in n Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese.

New York recently released English and Spanish antismoking ads that were much more graphic, showing death and amputation.

“The health department did focus groups and decided to start with a slightly softer approach,” Lee said. “No one knows how the community will react.”