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Increases in light and intermittent smoking among Asian Americans and non-Hispanic Whites.



Asian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant group in the United States and are more likely to be light and intermittent smokers (LITS) compared with non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs). LITS experience adverse health effects related to smoking. Previous research has aggregated Asian American ethnic groups, masking important differences between groups. We sought to compare LITS rates among Asian American subgroups before and after the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with NHWs in California utilizing data from the California Tobacco Surveys (CTS).


We combined 1990, 1992, and 1996 CTS (pre-MSA) and the 1999, 2002, 2005, and 2008 CTS (post-MSA) to examine changes in LITS (<10 cigarettes/day or not smoking daily). Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and Korean ethnic groups were compared with NHWs.


Pre-MSA logistic regression models adjusted for age, gender, education level, language spoken at home, and use of other tobacco products found that Chinese (odds ratio [OR] = 3.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.19, 5.21), Filipinos (OR = 3.55, 95% CI = 2.73, 4.63), Japanese (OR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.22, 3.27), and Koreans (OR = 3.22, 95% CI = 2.06, 5.03) were significantly more likely to be LITS compared with NHWs. Post-MSA, all Asian American subgroups experienced an increase in LITS (11.7%-37.8%); however, only Chinese (OR = 2.19, 95% CI = 1.16, 4.13) and Filipinos (OR = 3.33, 95% CI = 2.26, 4.91) remained significantly more likely to be LITS compared with NHWs.


Our results highlight the need for tobacco control efforts that address the growing group of LITS among Asian Americans and NHWs.

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