Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Non-smokers seeking help for smokers: a preliminary study

  • Author(s): Zhu, Shu-Hong H;
  • Nguyen, Q B;
  • Cummins, S;
  • Wong, S;
  • Wightman, V
  • et al.
Abstract

Objectives: To examine the phenomenon of non-smokers spontaneously taking action to seek help for smokers; to provide profiles of non-smoking helpers by language and ethnic groups. Setting: A large, statewide tobacco quitline (California Smokers' Helpline) in operation since 1992 in California, providing free cessation services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Subjects: Callers between August 1992 and September 2005 who identified themselves as either white, black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian (n = 349 110). A subset of these were "proxies": callers seeking help for someone else. For more detailed analysis, n = 2143 non-smoking proxies calling from October 2004 through September 2005. Main outcome measures: Proportions of proxies among all callers in each of seven language/ethnic groups; demographics of proxies; and proxies' relationships to smokers on whose behalf they called. Results: Over 22 000 non-smoking proxies called. Proportions differed dramatically across language/ethnic groups, from mean (+/- 95% confidence interval) 2.7 (0.3)% among English-speaking American Indians through 9.3 (0.3)% among English-speaking Hispanics to 35.3 (0.7)% among Asian-speaking Asians. Beyond the differences in proportion, however, remarkable similarities emerged across all groups. Proxies were primarily women (79.2 (1.7)%), living in the same household as the smokers (65.0 (2.1)%), and having either explicit or implicit understandings with the smokers that calling on their behalf was acceptable (90.0 (1.3)%). Conclusions: The willingness of non-smokers to seek help for smokers holds promise for tobacco cessation and may help address ethnic and language disparities. Non-smoking women in smokers' households may be the first group to target.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View