Online Program

Poor mental health and cigarette smoking among Asian American populations in New York City

Monday, November 4, 2013

Shijian Li, PhD, Department of Public Health, SUNY College at Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY
Simona Kwon, DrPH, MPH, Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Chau-Trinh Shevrin, DrPH, Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Mariano Rey, MD, Center for the Study of Asian American Health, NYU Institute of Community Health and Research, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
Background: Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States. Despite overall declines in cigarette smoking over the past four decades, a high prevalence of smoking persists among certain Asian American subpopulations, including persons with mental illness.

Objectives. The current study is a comprehensive analysis of smoking prevalence and patterns among Asian American populations who report poor mental health days in the past month.

Methods. The three year's combined data from the REACH US Risk Factor Survey (RSF, 2009-2012) were used to estimate the cigarette smoking among Asian American populations in New York City. The analytical sample contains 3,215 individuals who identified themselves as Asian Americans. Poor mental health was measured by the number of mentally unhealthy days during the past 30 days. Current smokers were defined as individuals who reported having smoked at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetimes and currently smoked every day or on some days.

Results: During 2009–2012, the overall smoking prevalence was significantly higher among Asian males (18.5%) than females (4.4%) in the RFS sample. For the Asian male population with “no unhealthy days”, “less than five unhealthy days” and “over five unhealthy days”, the smoking prevalence was respectively 16.1%, 22.5% and 22.6%. For females, the corresponding prevalence was 3.0%, 5.3% and 7.1% respectively. Chi-square and multiple regression statistics showed that there were significant differences between those who report less unhealthy days and those who report more unhealthy days in both the aggregated sample and the disaggregated sample by gender.

Conclusions/Discussion: The prevalence of cigarette smoking is higher among individuals with poor mental health, especially Asian American females. Increased awareness is needed to enhance efforts to reduce smoking in Asian American population. Mental health-care providers should screen patients for tobacco use and offer evidence-based cessation treatments.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare the prevalence of smoking among Asian American who reported poor mental health days in the past month. Describe the differences in smoking by gender and reported poor mental health days experienced in the past month. Identify potential interventions and strategies to provide smoking cessation for this under-served high need population.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conceptualized the research and conducted the data analysis.
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.