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

Indicator
Asian/Pacific Islander
General Population
Adult Tobacco Use
1.Adult Cigarette Use: Adult cigarette smoking prevalence9.5%12.4%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
2.Adult Cigarette Use: Adult cigarette smoking prevalenceAsian/Pacific Islander Men16.1%12.4%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
3.Change in Adult Cigarette Use: Rate of change in adult cigarette smoking, 2007 to 2014-21.1%-16.1%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2007. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
4.Change in Adult Cigarette Use: Rate of change in adult cigarette smoking, 2007 to 2014Asian/Pacific Islander Men-19.3%-16.1%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2007. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
5.Adult Tobacco Use: Adult tobacco use prevalence (including all tobacco products, e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes, other tobacco products)17%17.4%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013-2014.
6.Adult Tobacco Use: Adult tobacco use prevalence (including all tobacco products, e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes, other tobacco products)Asian/Pacific Islander Men20.6%17.4%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013-2014.
Youth Tobacco Use
7.Youth Cigarette Use: Youth cigarette smoking prevalencePacific Islander (without Asian)5.3%4.3%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-2016.
8.Youth Cigarette Use: Youth cigarette smoking prevalenceAsian (without Pacific Islander)1.6%4.3%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-2016.
9.Change in Youth Tobacco Use: Rate of change in youth cigarette smoking, 2002 to 2016Pacific Islander (without Asian)-74%-73.4%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2001-2002.
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-2016.
10.Change in Youth Tobacco Use: Rate of change in youth cigarette smoking, 2002 to 2016Asian (without Pacific Islander)-85.4%-73.4%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2001-2002.
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-2016.
11.Youth Tobacco Use: Youth tobacco use prevalence (including all tobacco products, e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes, other tobacco products)Pacific Islander (without Asian)13%13.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-2016.
12.Youth Tobacco Use: Youth tobacco use prevalence (including all tobacco products, e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes, other tobacco products)Asian (without Pacific Islander)6.2%13.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-2016.
Availability of Tobacco & Tobacco Industry Influence
13.Cheapest Cigarettes: Average price for the cheapest pack of cigarettesAsian (without Pacific Islander)$4.69$4.58
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
14.Cheapest Cigarettes: Average price for the cheapest pack of cigarettesPacific Islander (without Asian)$4.48$4.58
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
15.Flavored Little Cigar Price: Average price for a single flavored little cigar/cigarilloAsian (without Pacific Islander)$1.03$0.97
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
16.Flavored Little Cigar Price: Average price for a single flavored little cigar/cigarilloPacific Islander (without Asian)$0.96$0.97
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
17.Tobacco Retail Licensing: Proportion of population protected by a strong tobacco retail licensing lawPacific Islander (without Asian)41.5%36.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2015.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2009-2013.
18.Tobacco Retail Licensing: Proportion of population protected by a strong tobacco retail licensing lawAsian (without Pacific Islander)38%36.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2015.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2009-2013.
19.Tobacco Stores: Density of stores selling tobacco per 100,000 residentsPacific Islander (without Asian)8586
  • California Department of Tax and Fees Administration. California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer Licensees, October 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
20.Tobacco Stores: Density of stores selling tobacco per 100,000 residentsAsian (without Pacific Islander)7086
  • California Department of Tax and Fees Administration. California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer Licensees, October 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
21.Flavored Tobacco: Proportion of stores that sell flavored non-cigarette tobacco productsAsian (without Pacific Islander)79.1%81.8%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
22.Flavored Tobacco: Proportion of stores that sell flavored non-cigarette tobacco productsPacific Islander (without Asian)85.6%81.8%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
23.Menthol Cigarettes: Proportion of stores that sell menthol cigarettesAsian (without Pacific Islander)93%92.2%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
24.Menthol Cigarettes: Proportion of stores that sell menthol cigarettesPacific Islander (without Asian)93.1%92.2%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
25.Tobacco Advertising: Percentage of stores that keep 90% of their storefronts free from any advertisingAsian (without Pacific Islander)40.1%37%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
26.Tobacco Advertising: Percentage of stores that keep 90% of their storefronts free from any advertisingPacific Islander (without Asian)33.4%37%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
Secondhand Smoke
27.Smoke-free Multi-unit Housing: Proportion of population protected by a smoke-free multi-unit housing lawPacific Islander (without Asian)8.9%8.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2009-2013.
28.Smoke-free Multi-unit Housing: Proportion of population protected by a smoke-free multi-unit housing lawAsian (without Pacific Islander)10.2%8.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2009-2013.
29.Smoke-free Homes: Proportion of smoke-free homes92.6%92.9%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013-2014.
30.Smoke-free Homes: Proportion of smoke-free homesAsian/Pacific Islander Men91.2%92.9%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013-2014.
Cessation
31.California Smokers’ Helpline Enrollees: Proportion of California Smokers' Helpline enrollees6.5%10.9%
  • California Smokers' Helpline. Helpline Caller Intake Reports, July to December 2016.
32.Quitting: Proportion of smokers who tried quitting in the last 12 months64.9%60.6%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
33.Quitting: Proportion of smokers who tried quitting in the last 12 monthsAsian/Pacific Islander Men62.9%60.6%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.

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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