The New York City (NYC) Health Department has recently launched an anti-smoking public service advertisement directed towards Chinese men.
Narrated in Mandarin, the anti-smoking campaign shows Asian men dissipating into thin air as clouds of smoke while they are embracing their loved ones, reflecting a city-wide epidemic of Asian men faced with smoking-related deaths.
Indicated midway through the video, the rate of lung-cancer induced death has increased by 70% among Asian men in NYC between 2000 and 2014.
According to the NYC Health Report on the health disparities among Asians, 23% of Asians living in the city are reported as current smokers, exceeding the rates of smoking among Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics.
“Every cigarette puff reduces your years shared with your loved ones” the announcer states. “Stop wasting your precious life, and quit smoking now”.
Ultimately, the public service ad aims to encourage Chinese-speaking smokers to seek help. It ends with a phone number to the Asians Smokers Quitline, a non-profit that connects non-English speaking Asians to a representative that provides them with the information and resources necessary to help them quit smoking. Representatives are able to speak Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Out of the 23% of Asians who currently smoke, 27% of them are Chinese men. Chinese women, on the other hand, smoke five times less than Chinese men, Only 4% of Chinese women smoke.
This trend reflects a global, cultural norm linked to the Asian community’s unhealthy relationship with cigarettes. 60% of men in China smoke. And because many Chinese residents in NYC are immigrants, their habits continue to persist.
In addition to cultural norms, Chinese residents are faced with difficulty obtaining free anti-smoking resources from the city such as nicotine patches due to language barriers — reports the Business Times.
“At the Health Department, we strive to serve all New Yorkers, and each race/ethnic group has its own set of health outcomes and challenges”, health commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett states.
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