Tobacco and Asian Americans

There are many unique health risks associated with Tobacco and Asian Americans.

Health Impact of Tobacco

  • 12 percent of Asian-American adults are current smokers, which is the lowest rate of all major American racial/ethnic groups
  • Asian Americans have reported the following reasons for smoking:
    • Habit
    • Addiction
    • Enjoyment
    • Social functions
  • Read about the health consequences of tobacco

Benefits of Quitting

There are many short-term and long-term benefits to quitting tobacco, including the following:

At 20 minutes after quitting:

  • Blood pressure decreases.
  • Pulse rate drops.
  • Body temperature of hands and feet increases.

At 8 hours:

  • Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal.
  • Oxygen level in blood increases to normal (if no lung disease).

At 24 hours:

  • Chance of a heart attack decreases.

At 48 hours:

  • Nerve endings start regrowing.
  • Sense of smell and sense of taste improve.

At 2 weeks to 3 months:

  • Circulation improves.
  • Walking becomes easier.
  • Lung function improves.

At 1 to 9 months:

  • Coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness and shortness of breath decrease.

At 1 year:

  • Excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker.

At 5 years:

  • From five to 15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who never smoked.

At 10 years:

  • Risk of cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers.
  • Risk of ulcer decreases.

At 15 years:

  • Risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked.
  • Risk of death returns to nearly the level of people who have never smoked.

Effective Ways to Quit

Quitting is possible and you can do it! Quitting tobacco can not only benefit your health, but also the health of your loved ones. Involve your family and friends in your quitting plans so they are able to support you through the process.

It is important to develop a plan prior to quitting to ensure a successful quit. Whether you smoke regularly, a few cigarettes a day, or just socially, you can quit for good. Call the QuitLine to create your individual quit plan and to stay quit for good all with ongoing support throughout your quit process.


CDC, "Vital Signs: Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults Aged 18 Years - United States, 2009," MMWR 59, September 7, 2010,

Yu ESH, Chen EH, Kim KK, Abdulrahim S. Smoking Among Chinese Americans: Behavior, Knowledge, and Beliefs. Am J of Public Health, June 2002, Vol 92, No 6: 1007-1013.

Fiore, M.C., Jaen, C.R., Baker, T.B., et al., Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May, 2008.