Study: Disparities exist in Asian American Smoking Rates

12 August 2016

The CDC did an analysis study on the adult smoking rates across many different races and ethnic backgrounds by looking at National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2002-2005 to 2010-2013. Across racial boundaries they found that American Indian/ Alaska Natives had a huge prevalence of smoking (38.9%) compared to Asian Americans (10.9%). The researchers also found a wide disparity within  the Asian Subgroups, i.e. Chinese and Asian Indians at 7.6% and Koreans at 20%.

The study was a national study conducted by SAMHSA in partnership with RTI international and often involves and interviewer going to a participant’s homes to interview them. The survey was offered in English and in Spanish. You can find out more about the NSDUH here.


The findings here are hardly surprising to those who study Asian American health. Those who do study Asian American health know that, while an average number from all Asian subgroups might give you a number that would appear that Asian Americans are healthy, if you look at the subgroup data, that is when you will notice the disparities for Asian Americans. This is certainly the case in this situation.

Another point of discussion that I would like to bring up, is the fact that the survey could only be administered in English or Spanish. With the Asian American population, this is an issue, and I would suggest that the researchers could receive much more accurate data, if they were able to survey in Asian languages. As CASAP, we know that if we walked around Chinatown right now we would find a lot of people smoking, and they often do not understand English. By only offering English and Spanish services the administrators could easily be offering inaccurate data for Asian Americans. As stated above, inaccurate data is already an issue for Asian Americans. Hopefully something is done to change this.

What do you think of all this? Comment down below.

Link to the CDC report can be found here.

Nice graph summarizing Asian American cigarette usage here.








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