Tobacco Knowledge and Beliefs in Chinese American Men


Background: Chinese American men have relatively high smoking rates. However, there are limited data aboutthe tobacco-related knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of this racial/ethnic group.
Methods: We conducted a communitybasedtelephone survey in Seattle, Washington during 2004. Households were identified by applying a previouslyvalidated list of Chinese last names to an electronic version of the Seattle telephone book. Interviews were completedin Cantonese, Mandarin, or English. Survey items addressed tobacco knowledge, cultural beliefs, and practices.
Results: The study sample included 168 Chinese American men. Current, former, and never smoking rates were22%, 42%, and 36%, respectively. Current smokers were less likely to be proficient in English than never smokers,and were less likely to have a regular doctor than former smokers. They also had lower levels of knowledge about thehealth effects of tobacco, and were more likely to have traditional Chinese cultural beliefs about tobacco use thannon-smokers.
Conclusion: Tobacco use continues to be a public health problem among Chinese American men.Smoking cessation programs should target men with limited English proficiency and those without a regular sourceof health care. Educational materials should specifically address the negative health effects of smoking. They shouldalso both acknowledge and address Chinese cultural beliefs about tobacco use.