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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2006 Jul-Sep;7(3):434-8.

Tobacco knowledge and beliefs in Chinese American men.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.



Chinese American men have relatively high smoking rates. However, there are limited data about the tobacco-related knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of this racial/ethnic group.


We conducted a community-based telephone survey in Seattle, Washington during 2004. Households were identified by applying a previously validated list of Chinese last names to an electronic version of the Seattle telephone book. Interviews were completed in Cantonese, Mandarin, or English. Survey items addressed tobacco knowledge, cultural beliefs, and practices.


The study sample included 168 Chinese American men. Current, former, and never smoking rates were 22%, 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 the health effects of tobacco, and were more likely to have traditional Chinese cultural beliefs about tobacco use than non-smokers.


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 source of health care. Educational materials should specifically address the negative health effects of smoking. They should also both acknowledge and address Chinese cultural beliefs about tobacco use.

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