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West J Nurs Res. 2013 Oct;35(9):1205-21. doi: 10.1177/0193945913490840. Epub 2013 Jun 5.

Cigarettes, culture, and Korean American emerging adults: an exploratory qualitative study.

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University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Korean American emerging adults (KAEA) constitute an understudied, at-risk group for smoking and related health consequences. The cultural meanings of smoking and cessation among KAEA were explored. Sixty-seven KAEA participated in 10 focus groups. Themes from the sessions were identified and domain analysis was conducted. Regarding reasons for smoking, we identified (a) association between the culture of origin and gender identification, (b) access/availability of cigarettes in homes/community, and (c) competing social environments where KAEA adjust their health behaviors. Regarding contexts for cessation, we identified (a) a sense of invincibility/denial, (b) lack of role models or pressure to quit, and (c) lack of significant life events. Using cessation aids represented lacking personal discipline/willpower. The results show that smoking among KAEA is highly contextualized in the culture of origin, despite U.S. tobacco control policies. Implications for culturally sensitive prevention/cessation programs for KAEA include modifying culturally based norms and social spaces regarding cigarettes and cessation.


Korean American; cessation; culture; emerging adults; smoking

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