Latest Asian-American tobacco use data reported

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- California's Asian Americans smoke at a lower rate than the state's population as a whole, but the better an Asian California woman's English, the more likely she is to smoke.

The findings were reported today at the 5th Asian American Cancer Control Academy, a meeting sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and its Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training (AANCART).

"Because one of every three Asian Americans in the United States lives in California, these findings have significance well beyond the borders of our state," said Moon S. Chen, Jr., professor of public health sciences at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center and principal investigator for AANCART, an $8.5 million project funded by the National Cancer Institute.

"The good news is that the overall decline we've seen in smoking among Asian Californians could be achieved in other states -- at the same time, the worrisome sign of higher smoking prevalence among the most acculturated young Asian American women in California could be indicative of a trend in the rest of the country as well. We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go," Chen said.

The latest tobacco use statistics for Asian Americans in California reveal dramatic variations from one Asian American subgroup to another. For example, 36 percent of Korean American men and 32 percent of Vietnamese American men smoke cigarettes, according to Hao Tang, a research scientist for the Tobacco Control Section of the California Department of Health Services. That's the highest rate for any of the six Asian American subgroups studied -- Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian and Vietnamese -- and well above the 20 percent rate for all California men.

Among women, Vietnamese Americans have the lowest smoking rate of any of the Asian subgroups studied, at 1 percent. Japanese American women have the highest, at 13 percent. The overall

Contact: Claudia Morain
University of California, Davis - Health System

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