Asian/Pacific Islander

The Story of Asian/Pacific Islander

A tobacco executive was quoted calling Asian/Pacific Islander communities “a potential gold mine” because people who are Asian/Pacific Islander are “pre-disposed” to smoking, insinuating all people who identify as Asian/Pacific Islander are exactly alike when it comes to getting easily hooked on their deadly products.1 While we know that’s not true, we do know that Big Tobacco is predisposed to greed. Because of this, Big Tobacco is particularly aggressive in its advertising to Asian/Pacific Islander communities, placing more advertising on billboards and inside stores in urban neighborhoods where people pre-dominantly identify as Asian American.2 And while Lunar New Years are symbolic of new beginnings, occasions to honor deities and ancestors— tobacco companies see them as opportunities to prey on Asian/Pacific Islander communities, feigning support to promote their harmful products.

Though the overall smoking rate for people who identify as Asian/Pacific Islander is at less than 10%, the lowest of all compared populations, gender and ethnicity play a role. For example, for Asian/Pacific Islander men, the smoking rate is just over 16%.3 And Big Tobacco makes its products cheaper in Pacific Islander communities than in Asian communities.4 Pacific Islander youth also have higher smoking and tobacco use rates than among Asian youth.5

Asian/Pacific Islander communities are taking steps to protect their youth, and have seen the largest percentage drops in youth smoking over the past 15 years.6 The numbers are going in the right direction, but the fight isn’t over until that number is zero.

  1. M E Muggli, R W Pollay, R Lew, A M Joseph, Targeting of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by the tobacco industry: results from the Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository, 2002, Tobacco Control
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/asian-americans/index.htm
  3. 2017 Story of Inequity, Indicator: Prevalence of adult cigarette smoking by priority population group.
  4. 2017 Story of Inequity, Indicator: Average price for the cheapest pack of cigarettes by priority population and, Indicator: Average price for a single of the leading brand of flavored little cigar/cigarillo by priority population group.
  5. 2017 Story of Inequity, Indicator: Prevalence of youth cigarette smoking by priority population group and, Indicator: Prevalence of youth tobacco use by priority population group, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products.
  6. 2017 Story of Inequity, Indicator: Rate of change in youth cigarette smoking prevalence by priority population group, 2002 to 2016.

The Proof is in the Data

[ Data last updated 10/27/2020 ]

Indicator
Asian/Pacific Islander
General Population
Adult Tobacco Use
1.Adult Cigarette Use: Adult cigarette smoking prevalence8.0%10.7%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
2.Adult Cigarette Use: Adult cigarette smoking prevalenceAsian/Pacific Islander Men12.4%10.7%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
3.Change in Adult Cigarette Use: Rate of change in adult cigarette smoking, 2014 to 2018-15.8%-13.7%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2013-14. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
4.Change in Adult Cigarette Use: Rate of change in adult cigarette smoking, 2014 to 2018Asian/Pacific Islander Men-29.2%-13.7%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2013-14. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
5.Adult Tobacco Use: Adult tobacco use prevalence (e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other vaping products, other tobacco products)The estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.14.4%18.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2018. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
6.Adult Tobacco Use: Adult tobacco use prevalence (e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other vaping products, other tobacco products)Asian/Pacific Islander Men24.5%18.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2018. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Youth Tobacco Use
7.Youth Cigarette Use: Youth cigarette smoking prevalenceAsian (without Pacific Islander)The estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.0.8%2.0%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
8.Youth Cigarette Use: Youth cigarette smoking prevalencePacific Islander (without Asian)2.6%2.0%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
9.Youth Cigarette Use: Youth cigarette smoking prevalenceAsian/Pacific Islander BoysThe estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.1.1%2.0%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
10.Change in Youth Cigarette Use: Rate of change in youth cigarette smoking, 2016 to 2018Asian (without Pacific Islander)-50.0%-53.5%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-16. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
11.Change in Youth Cigarette Use: Rate of change in youth cigarette smoking, 2016 to 2018Pacific Islander (without Asian)-43.5%-53.5%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-16. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
12.Change in Youth Cigarette Use: Rate of change in youth cigarette smoking, 2016 to 2018Asian/Pacific Islander Boys-42.1%-53.5%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-16. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
13.Youth Tobacco Use: Youth tobacco use prevalence (e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other vaping products, other tobacco products)Asian (without Pacific Islander)The estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.7.0%12.7%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
14.Youth Tobacco Use: Youth tobacco use prevalence (e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other vaping products, other tobacco products)Pacific Islander (without Asian)The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.17.1%12.7%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
15.Youth Tobacco Use: Youth tobacco use prevalence (e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other vaping products, other tobacco products)Asian/Pacific Islander Men7.7%12.7%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
Availability of Tobacco & Tobacco Industry Influence
16.Cheapest Cigarettes: Average price for the cheapest pack of cigarettesAsian (without Pacific Islander)$6.99$7.11
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
17.Cheapest Cigarettes: Average price for the cheapest pack of cigarettesPacific Islander (without Asian)$7.10$7.11
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
18.Flavored Little Cigar Price: Average price for a single flavored little cigar/cigarilloAsian (without Pacific Islander)$1.03$0.97
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2011-2015. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
19.Flavored Little Cigar Price: Average price for a single flavored little cigar/cigarilloPacific Islander (without Asian)$0.96$0.97
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2011-2015. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
20.Tobacco Retail Licensing: Proportion of population protected by a strong tobacco retail licensing lawAsian (without Pacific Islander)34.5%36.9%
  • Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2018. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2013-2017. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Decennial Census, 2010. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
21.Tobacco Retail Licensing: Proportion of population protected by a strong tobacco retail licensing lawPacific Islander (without Asian)40.9%36.9%
  • Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2018. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2013-2017. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Decennial Census, 2010. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
22.Tobacco Stores: Density of stores selling tobacco per 100,000 residentsAsian (without Pacific Islander)The estimate is 10.0 stores per 100,000 lower than the California general population.57.578.0
  • California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer Licensees, May 2020. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Decennial Census, 2010. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
23.Tobacco Stores: Density of stores selling tobacco per 100,000 residentsPacific Islander (without Asian)69.778.0
  • California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer Licensees, May 2020. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Decennial Census, 2010. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
24.Flavored Tobacco: Proportion of stores that sell flavored non-cigarette tobacco productsAsian (without Pacific Islander)The estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.72.8%81.8%
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
25.Flavored Tobacco: Proportion of stores that sell flavored non-cigarette tobacco productsPacific Islander (without Asian)78.0%81.8%
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
26.Menthol Cigarettes: Proportion of stores that sell menthol cigarettesAsian (without Pacific Islander)83.4%88.3%
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
27.Menthol Cigarettes: Proportion of stores that sell menthol cigarettesPacific Islander (without Asian)88.1%88.3%
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
28.Tobacco Advertising: Proportion of stores that keep 90% of their storefront free from any advertisingAsian (without Pacific Islander)46.3%40.1%
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
29.Tobacco Advertising: Proportion of stores that keep 90% of their storefront free from any advertisingPacific Islander (without Asian)44.4%40.1%
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
Cannabis Use
30.Adult Cannabis Use: Adult cannabis use prevalenceThe estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.8.9%16.1%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
31.Adult Cannabis Use: Adult cannabis use prevalenceAsian/Pacific Islander MenThe estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.9.1%16.1%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
32.Youth Cannabis Use: Youth cannabis use prevalenceThe estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.5.5%14.7%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
33.Youth Cannabis Use: Youth cannabis use prevalencePacific Islander (without Asian)The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.19.6%14.7%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
34.Youth Cannabis Use: Youth cannabis use prevalenceAsian/Pacific Islander BoysThe estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.6.1%14.7%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2017-18. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
Secondhand Smoke
35.Adult Secondhand Tobacco Exposure: Proportion of adults exposed to secondhand smoke47.5%52.9%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
36.Adult Secondhand Tobacco Exposure: Proportion of adults exposed to secondhand smokeAsian/Pacific Islander Men48.2%52.9%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
37.Youth Secondhand Tobacco Exposure: Proportion of youth exposed to secondhand smoke or vape44.5%46.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2018. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
38.Youth Secondhand Tobacco Exposure: Proportion of youth exposed to secondhand smoke or vapeAsian/Pacific Islander Boys46.5%46.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2018. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
39.Smokefree Multi-unit Housing: Proportion of population protected by a smokefree multi-unit housing lawAsian (without Pacific Islander)39.5%29.0%
  • Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2018. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2013-2017. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
40.Smokefree Multi-unit Housing: Proportion of population protected by a smokefree multi-unit housing lawPacific Islander (without Asian)35.5%29.0%
  • Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2018. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2013-2017. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
41.Smokefree Homes: Proportion of adults with smokefree homes88.6%88.0%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2018. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
42.Smokefree Homes: Proportion of adults with smokefree homesAsian/Pacific Islander Men86.3%88.0%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2018. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Cessation
43.California Smokers' Helpline Enrollees: Proportion of California Smokers' Helpline enrolleesThe estimate is significantly lower than the population's make-up of California's adult smokers.9.8%11.2%of smokers are
Asian/Pacific Islander
  • California Smokers' Helpline Caller Intake Reports, 2019. San Diego, CA: California Smokers' Helpline, University of California, San Diego.
44.Quitting: Proportion of smokers who tried quitting in the last 12 months61.5%56.2%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
45.Quitting: Proportion of smokers who tried quitting in the last 12 monthsAsian/Pacific Islander Men60.8%56.2%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
46.Doctor Advice to Quit: Proportion of smokers whose doctors advised them to quit47.8%46.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
47.Doctor Advice to Quit: Proportion of smokers whose doctors advised them to quitAsian/Pacific Islander Men47.9%46.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

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A Story of Inequity

Tobacco's Impact on Health Disparities in California

For decades, the tobacco industry has aggressively targeted California’s diverse communities with predatory practices. Internal documents from Big Tobacco outline their strategies – many of which are shocking attempts to peddle deadly products by way of product discounts and manipulative advertising. They even gave away free products to youth in the past. These tactics masquerade as support for communities under the guise of cultural celebration.

Unfortunately, the tactics have worked. Big Tobacco aggressively targeted communities and, as a result, some populations have higher rates of tobacco use, experience greater secondhand smoke exposure at work and at home, and have higher rates of tobacco-related disease than the general population.1

Addressing tobacco-related health inequities is key to California’s efforts to fight tobacco, our state’s number one cause of preventable death and disease.2 Tobacco use, pricing, and its impact across California were analyzed where significant disparities were found across various populations. See how Big Tobacco affects each community in the Nation’s most diverse state.

A Story Of Inequity Methodology >

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tobacco-Related Disparities
  2. Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic in California, April 11, 2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention