New York City has seen dramatic decreases in its numbers of active smokers in the last ten years. But Asians seem to persist, according to The New York Times.
The city’s Asian population has been stubbornly resistant to the otherwise successful efforts by the Bloomberg administration to curb smoking among New Yorkers. Smoking rates among the city’s Asian communities have not budged since 2002 — most notably among Asian men, despite decreases in the habit among almost every other demographic, according to data from the city’s health department.
On Thursday, the department stepped up its appeals to Asian smokers, introducing graphic ads in Chinese for its annual campaign to distribute nicotine patches and gum, and offering Chinese speakers for those who call 311 to enroll in the program. The department will also seed the ethnic news media with translated versions of its antismoking campaign called “Pain,” which depicts excruciating smoking-related cancers.
“We looked at our data very carefully to understand who is still smoking in New York City,” said Jenna Mandel-Ricci, a deputy director at the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control. She added that the city’s Russian community, about a quarter of whom smoke, would be given the same kind of attention.
Part of the problem is rooted in homeland: Nearly 70 percent of men in both China and South Korea smoke, for example, according to the World Health Organization (for women in both countries the number is below 10 percent). In New York City, the numbers are far lower: about 17 percent of Asian men smoke, and under 5 percent of women, according to the health department.
But unlike most other demographic groups in the city, Asian men smoke at a rate that did not show a statistically significant drop from 2002 to 2010. Among blacks, for example, the rate fell to 12.5 percent from 20.8 percent. And among whites, it dropped to 15.6 percent from 23.8 percent.
For theories as to why Asians smoke more than other populations, here's the full Times story.