New Smoking Program Geared at KoreAm Men
In an effort to reduce smoking rates among Korean American males, the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Korean Community Advisory Board (KCAB) are implementing a targeted innovative new study.
Research has shown that Korean American males exhibit the highest rates of cigarette smoking among Asian Americans. Data showing that many Korean American smokers have tried to quit a number of times without success have led to calls for more comprehensive quitting programs that are culturally sensitive.
The new study utilizes the Internet to monitor self-enrolled Korean American men in tracking their smoking patterns and methods for smoking cessation.
“We discovered that Korean Americans have very high rates of access to the Internet, particularly immigrants and younger adults,” said Dr. Joel Moskowitz, director of the health center. “The reason for this is probably because Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world right now.”
By taking a simple Internet survey, eligible participants are randomly assigned to one of two self-help programs. Materials are made available in both Korean and English.
“We hope to understand which of the two smoking cessation methods helps Korean American males to quit smoking,” Moskowitz said. “Also, we would like to study the process of quitting smoking, what materials are used to quit, and major facilitators of success and inhibitors.”
KCAB is collaborating with researchers to provide the cultural knowledge of how to best conduct such a study. The group meets on a monthly basis to identify specific problems to tackle, determine what types of interventions work best and how to implement the intervention most successfully.
“KCAB provides that cultural sensitivity in order to be best effective in terms of education and hopefully encouraging people to quit smoking,” said Dr. Gin Pang, a member of the Alameda Korean Presbyterian Church. “We’re trying to identify problem health issues and help the research team to get access to the Korean community. You have to know the community and their cultural expectations to reach them.”
KCAB works heavily with churches, since it is estimated that 70 percent of Koreans in the United States participant in some way with the Korean church.
“It’s a very social, cultural and resource-supported kind of place,” Pang said. “The researchers felt like that perspective was very important.”
“We hope this study will allow us to help them quit and find out what methods work best,” Moskowitz said. “The good news is that it is not too late to quit. The sooner people quit, the more likely they can prevent the serious illness caused by smoking.”