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Does New York need a stronger ad campaign to curb Asian smoking?

A report by the NY Times, “For Many Asian New Yorkers, Smoking Is Still a Way of Life,” intrigued us. It states that the city’s Asian population has been stubbornly resistant to the successful efforts by the Bloomberg administration to curb smoking among New Yorkers. Smoking among the city’s Asian communities has not budged since 2002 — most notably among Asian men, despite decreases in the habit among almost every other demographic, according to data from the city’s health department.

The department reportedly introduced graphic ads in Chinese for its annual campaign to distribute nicotine patches and gum, and offering Chinese speakers for those who call 311 to enroll in the program. Also, it will bombard the ethnic news media with translated versions of its antismoking campaign called “Pain,” which depicts excruciating smoking-related cancers.

The focus on Asians stems from the fact that smoking has gone down for most ethnic segments from 2002 to 2010. Among blacks, for example, the rate fell to 12.5 percent from 20.8 percent and among whites, it dropped to 15.6 percent from 23.8 percent, according to the report.

It is common knowledge that smoking in Asia is still high and many who come here stick to the habit. For Mayor Bloomberg to be more successful in this, he needs a stronger ad campaign from Asian American ad agencies.

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