Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children, and according to the Surgeon General, US children are more heavily exposed to secondhand smoke than nonsmoking adults.
March 10, 2009: BPSOS-New Orleans is working with the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) to heal some of the wounds that smoking inflicts on Vietnamese-American families every day.
“We’re glad to be working with TFL, which is making progress towards a healthier Louisiana through 100% tobacco-free living,” said Tony Tran, branch manager of BPSOS-New Orleans. “Their mission is to implement and evaluate comprehensive tobacco control initiatives that prevent and reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.”
BPSOS-New Orleans has taken a variety of steps to support TFL’s mission in the Vietnamese-American community.
“The New Orleans branch has done outreach to the fishing communities in southeast Louisiana about smoking cessation, for which we trained at an all-day tobacco control advocacy training,” said Tran. “We’ve also held one-on-one interviews with Vietnamese casino workers to gather input for our advocacy plan, which we hope will convince Louisiana to enforce 100% smoke-free ordinances.”
The branch staff has found time to mix the message with fun by co-emceeing a smoke-free concert to celebrate the Great American Smokeout.
TFL and the New Orleans branch have an important mission, since some reports indicate that lung cancer rates in Southeast Asians are 18 percent higher than in America’s general population. In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that tobacco use among Southeast Asian men takes place at a rate of 34 to 43 percent, while the rate is only 27 percent in Caucasian males.
Why? One reason may be the power of advertising. Studies show a higher density of tobacco billboards and store displays in Asian neighborhoods, for example, in San Diego. Research there showed the highest ad rates in stores in Asian neighborhoods, followed by Latino, African-American, and white areas.
Education could be a critical factor in turning around the problem of tobacco use. One study shows that one in five Vietnamese Americans does not know that smoking causes heart disease, bronchitis, emphysema, and mouth cancer. Worse, slightly more than one in four Vietnamese-American adults does not know that smoking can cause cancer.
Education is a watchword for TFL, a statewide tobacco control program funded by a state excise tax on tobacco passed in 2002. TFL’s goals are:
– To eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke
– To prevent initiation of tobacco use among youth
– To promote tobacco cessation among youth and adults
– To identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities
– To facilitate effective coordination of all tobacco control and prevention initiatives throughout the state of Louisiana
For more information about TFL, please click here.