Asian Americans: The Burden of Tobacco-Related Disease & Death

Did you know that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders continue to face a disproportionate burden of tobacco-related disability, disease and death?

    • 39% of Cambodians, 48% of Laotians and 51% of Vietnamese use tobacco compared to 12% of Asian Americans and 22% of Whites.
    • 21% of Korean women and 23% of Pacific Islander women smoke compared to 10% of California women.
    • Pacific Islander youth start smoking earlier than any other ethnic or racial group.
    • Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders smokers are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes than the general population.

Learn more about tobacco use among Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations in California: Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL) 

Disparities Exist in Local Smoke-Free Law Coverage

“Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) from burning tobacco products causes premature death and disease in nonsmokers. Despite reductions in SHS exposure over the past 25 years, millions of US nonsmokers continue to be exposed, particularly certain population groups such as African Americans and those with lower socioeconomic status. The Surgeon General has concluded that there is no risk-free level of SHS, and that eliminating smoking in indoor areas is the only effective way to fully protect nonsmokers from exposure.” 
Excerpt from Huang J, King BA, Babb SD, Xu X, Hallett C, and Hopkins M.  Sociodemographic Disparities in Local Smoke-Free Law Coverage in 10 States. Am J Public Health. 2015;105(9):1806-1813.
Disparities Local Smoke Laws

Focus on Women & Girls

MotheCampaign for TFreer’s Day was this past weekend, and we hope every woman who is a mother or a mother figure was celebrated. We want to share a message from theCampaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
Now is the time to make plans to raise awareness about the impact of tobacco use on women and families in your community, as well as spark interest in and support for your tobacco control activities. There are a number of activities that you can do to celebrate moms and raise awareness about this important issue. Consider identifying a woman in your community who can talk about how she successfully quit with the help of your state’s tobacco control program, or even a woman who is willing to share her ongoing struggle with tobacco addiction. You can partner her message with facts about tobacco use among females in your community and quit-smoking resources.

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Highlighting LOOP Influencer, Daniel Toleran!

UPCOMING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES TO SUPPORT PRIORITY POPULATIONS! DE ToleranMr. Toleran is an immigrant and a bilingual/bicultural community based scholar. His current work with Asian American Recovery Services/a program of HealthRIGHT 360, and recent work with Asian American Mental Health Services includes program design and project management in the prevention or treatment of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. He is committed to bridging service and research for young adults and adults in urban environments dating back to the early 90’s. He served as Executive Director and awarded a Center for Disease Control funded prevention project targeting Filipino men who have sex with men. Continue reading


“The daring, flamboyant aspect of [young adult] black smokers’ personalities are evident in the many trends they start. And the fact that these trends often spread to the general population speaks to the unrecognized power and influence this subgroup yields on society.”
(RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company document source below)

Howling Into the Wind

Our hearts are heavy, our spirits are weary, and our eyes are filled to the brim with overflowing tears, tears that can no longer be held back. Another Black man, another Brown man, another Black boy, dead or abused. The videos keep coming, confronting our consciousness, confirming what many have always known, confirming what many would simply never believe. Perhaps we are in the midst of our “urban spring,” and it hurts. The anger, the rage – they are deep and profound; at times, it seems as if the world is coming undone.

For those of us who do tobacco control in the vulnerable communities that are most affected, our work has become a lot harder. At best our tobacco control issues are put on hold; at worst they take giant strides backwards. Pushed back and relegated once again to that back burner of non-pressing issues. The tobacco industry loves times such as these because they know we are howling into the wind, howling into the winds of racism, injustice, and indifference. And the tobacco industry knows that the wind usually wins.

Because at times like these, how do we continue to beat the drum for tobacco control? How do we tell our vulnerable communities that even as they continue to step over the dead, they must keep their eyes fixed on their true enemy and number one killer of their people? We honor meeting communities where they are by listening to their acute concerns, in order to understand how best to work with them to address chronic tobacco control issues. It is not easy, but equity, social justice, inclusion, capacity building, and advocacy must be kept at the forefront, and that is what we embody here at The LOOP.

Take care of yourselves. But seek justice; seek peace.

Let’s continue to work together for justice in all communities!

Do you know who California’s tobacco-related priority populations are?

According to the 2015-2017 Toward a Tobacco-Free California Master Plan, priority populations are groups that have higher rates of tobacco use than the general population, experience greater secondhand smoke exposure at work and at home, are disproportionately targeted by the tobacco industry, and have higher rates of tobacco-related disease compared to the general population. Individuals may be members of more than one priority popula­tion.

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Supporting Local Lead Agencies Serving Priority Populations!

Project Director, Oralia Vallejo (center)

Project Director, Oralia Vallejo (center)

Connecting with Kings County
After connecting her with a LOOP Technical Assistance Trainer (TAT), the Kings County Tobacco Control Program Project Director, Oralia Vallejo, told the LOOP:

“Indeed, [connecting us with a LOOP TAT] is wonderful news! Kings County is the small county south of Fresno that is always overlooked, and yet we have so much work yet to do in tobacco. We have limited resources, and yet our smoking rate is at 16%…you have truly made my day and weekend. I look forward to working with [the TAT] to raise the level of awareness of the issue of tobacco use in Kings County.”

2015 TEROC Report Highlights

MP Cover-Final
Did You Know…?
...that the Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee (TEROC) recommends that the measure of tobacco-related health disparity should be the rate of change within a single priority population compared to other populationsFor example, between 1996 and 2011, the smoking prevalence among adults in low socioeconomic status (SES) populations declined 20.7 percent; however, the decline for high socioeconomic populations was 62.9 percent. Additionally, the decline for California men during the same period showed a decline for African Americans of 12.5 percent and a decline of 33.5 percent for non-Latino Whites. The decline for the low SES and African American communities appears much more positive without the full context of the decline in smoking prevalence for other populations.
Read all of the recommendations by the Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee: Changing Landscape: Countering New Threats, 2015-2017.