247219 Moving Towards a True Depiction of Tobacco Use among South Asians: Analyses from the California Asian Indian Tobacco Use Survey

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Arnab Mukherjea, DrPH, MPH , Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Mary V. Modayil, MSPH, PhD , California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program, Sacramento, CA
Elisa Tong, MD , Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA
Objective: Despite disproportionate burdens of tobacco-related disease, past reporting has largely concluded that tobacco use does not contribute to excess burden of illness among Asian Indians in the United States. Besides cigarettes, Asian Indians use culturally-specific tobacco products. We examine Asian Indian tobacco behavior in California, which has had a long-standing tobacco control program and the largest Asian American population.

Methods: We analyzed data from the 2004 California Asian Indian Tobacco Use Survey. In addition to examining cigarettes, we created a composite variable comprised of four culturally-specific tobacco products: bidis, hookah, paan, and gutka. Current prevalence rates were analyzed by gender among survey respondents.

Findings: The survey had 3228 respondents, of whom 89% were immigrants. For prevalence, 8.3% of men and 1.7% of women smoke cigarettes. However, 14% of men and 12% of women currently use any culturally-specific tobacco product. Most common were culturally-specific smokeless tobacco/betel-nut concoctions (paan and gutka), comprising 13% of the study sample (14% of men; 12% of women). Culturally-specific smoked tobacco products were used less frequently overall and by both genders: bidis (0.1%) and hookahs (0.4%). Implications/Conclusions: These analyses confirm that use of tobacco, particularly culturally-specific products, is a significant problem among Asian Indians in California, paralleling patterns found in other Asian Indian ethnic enclaves domestically and globally. Currently, statewide efforts do not focus on decreasing the prevalence of culturally-specific tobacco products. Enhanced surveillance measures and targeted interventions, especially for culturally-specific smokeless products, are needed to address tobacco-related disparities among Asian Indians in California and nationwide.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
At the end of the session, audience members will be able to: 1) Define culturally-specific tobacco products used by Asian Indians in California; 2) Describe how measurement of culturally-specific tobacco use rates illustrate a more accurate depiction of prevalence among this understudied community; 3) Discuss how tobacco control strategies (research and practice) might be targeted to address disparities among this population

Keywords: Tobacco, Asian Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I currently conduct research on culturally-specific uses of tobacco by Asian Indians and other South Asians in the United States.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.