UC Davis study asseses impact of smoking in California's Korean and Chinese communities

September 06, 2005

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- A UC Davis Cancer Center study of California's Korean and Chinese communities shows that more than one in four Korean men smokes, a rate 46 percent higher than for California men overall, that Korean and Chinese women smoke at higher rates the longer they live in the United States, and that Korean and Chinese children are more likely than California kids overall to be exposed to secondhand smoke at home.

The research, the first to survey tobacco use specifically in California's Korean and Chinese communities, was announced today along with the results of three other studies at a California Department of Health Service's press briefing in Los Angeles.

"Our anti-tobacco efforts need to continue as California's new immigrants are targeted by the tobacco industry with the image that tobacco use is the essence of the 'Western' lifestyle,'' said Moon S. Chen, Jr., associate director of Cancer Disparities and Research at the UC Davis Cancer Center and principal investigator of the Korean and Chinese tobacco-use studies. "California needs to continue to show that living healthy and tobacco-free is the real Western lifestyle."

Other findings: The research was conducted between 2003 and 2004 on behalf of the Tobacco Control Section of the California Department of Health Services. The Strategic Research Group conducted telephone surveys in English or Korean or Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Fukinese, Shanghaiese, Taiwanese and Toyshanese).

Findings from three other studies that looked at tobacco use among Asian Indian Californians, active military stationed in California, and California's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities were also presented at the briefing.

The Asian Indian study, conducted by researchers at UCLA, found low smoking rates for men (8.7 percent) and women (1.9 percent). Those born in westernized countries were nearly four times more likely to have used tobacco compared to those born in a non-westernized country.

Chen is one of the nation's foremost experts on the cancer burden of ethnic minorities. He heads a $5.5 million, National Cancer Institute-funded project to eliminate cancer disparities among Asian Americans. The California Department of Health Services is a partner in the project, known as AANCART (for Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training).

UC Davis Cancer Center, the nation's 61st National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, serves inland Northern California and California's Central Valley, a region the size of Pennsylvania.
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Media Contact:
Claudia Morain, UC Davis Cancer Center:
Office: (916) 734-9023 / Pager: (916) 762-9855
E-mail: claudia.morain@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu

UC Davis Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated center between San Francisco and Portland, Ore., is a program of the UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center.

Public Affairs
UC Davis Health System
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Sacramento, CA 95820
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E-mail: publicaffairs@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
Web address: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom/

University of California - Davis Health System

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