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Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 Dec;9(12):1277-86.

The first puff: forces in smoking initiation among Californians of Korean descent.

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Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, CA 92123, USA.


This study presents the correlates of initial exposure to cigarettes, variables associated with smoking prevalence and with continued smoking (or not) among adult Californians of Korean descent who have any initial exposure to cigarettes. Among those who have taken a puff, social contingencies contrast those who become current smokers from those who do not. Data were drawn from telephone interviews with adults (N = 2,830) developed from a random sampling of listed persons in California with Korean surnames during 2000-2001. Of the attempted interviews, 86% were completed; and 85% of the interviews were conducted in Korean. Nearly half of all respondents (49.0%) had been exposed to cigarettes, and 41.9% of these reported current smoking, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria (currently smoke and have smoked 100 cigarettes during lifetime). Multivariate analysis suggests that social contingencies may influence both initial exposure to tobacco and continued smoking among Californians of Korean descent. Influences of acculturation on taking the first puff and on current smoking status diverged by gender. Social support increased the likelihood of the first puff among both genders, but the association was stronger among females than among males. Social reinforcers that lead to taking the first puff also discriminated between those who became current smokers and those who did not. Interventions should be directed at these variables among young Korean nonsmokers and new smokers.

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