The Department of Health Science at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and the Cambodian Association of America (CAA), Long Beach have developed an academic/community collaborative partnership to develop the Cambodian Tobacco Research Initiative (CTRI). This Initiative will address the challenge of tobacco use among the Cambodian population in this Southern California community. The long-term goals of this initiative include the development of smoking prevention and stop smoking strategies specifically useful to this population and cultural characteristics of the Cambodian people.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Asian Americans have reduced their smoking since 1978, the broad categorization of Asian American/Pacific Islanders as one group masks alarmingly high smoking rates of its subpopulations. National studies from the late 1980s and early 1990s have reported cigarette smoking rates up to 55% among Cambodian males. Several California studies reported a high rate of 71% for Cambodians, compared to 42% for Vietnamese and 28% for Chinese. The lower rates of smoking among Cambodian women have been challenged when smoking status has been confirmed by scientific tests. Several reports suggest that the actual smoking rates among Southeast Asian females may be approaching those for all U.S. adult females in the U.S.
Given that there is little data on the tobacco-related health beliefs, attitudes, preventive practices and lowered access to preventive practices of Cambodians in Long Beach, the most fitting first approach to assessment is more descriptive than experimental. Therefore, during the 18-month pilot phase of this grant, the CTRI will conduct a series of focus groups with 100-120 volunteer members of the Cambodian community of Long Beach. The groups will vary by age, gender, and language in which they are conducted. Recruitment for these focus groups will be conducted by the Cambodian Association of America making use of its 27-year history of working within this community. The research will be guided by the PRECEDE-PROCEED model of health education assessment and planning that has been used in national and international programs. The specific aims of this proposal are to: 1. Obtain qualitative information on the current tobacco use within the Cambodian community of Long Beach. 2. Identify the predisposing, reinforcing, and enabling factors that influence Cambodian youth and adults to avoid, begin, or stop smoking. 3. Identify the most effective smoking prevention and cessation strategies for specific age groups within the target population. 4. Strengthen the working relationship between the academic and community partners to enable the CTRI to effectively and efficiently develop and implement culturally appropriate smoking cessation interventions in this community in the next phase of this grant.