Asian American youth are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. This present study examined intrapersonal and interpersonal determinants of smoking status among Asian American adolescents.


Using data from the 2006 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 1,368 Asian American adolescents in Grades 6 through 12 were selected.


Findings revealed that one eighth (12%) experimented with cigarettes, 3% smoked occasionally, and 2% smoked regularly. High school students reported higher rates for experimental, occasional, and regular smoking than middle school students. More male than female youth reported the three types of smoking status. Multivariate analyses showed that, compared with nonsmoking, age, weekly income, family members’ smoking, refusal of cigarettes from best friends predicted experimental smoking; and positive images of smoking, perception of safety of smoking for only 1 year, awareness of the harmful effects of secondhand smoking, refusal to smoke, and absence from school predicted occasional smoking. Age interacted with refusal to smoke in predicting occasional smoking. Male gender, awareness of the harmful effects of secondhand smoking, refusal to smoke, absence from school, and receptivity to tobacco marketing were determinants of regular smoking.


This study uniquely examined how the impacts of multiple intrapersonal and interpersonal predictors differed by various stages of smoking in a nationally representative sample of Asian American adolescents. Our findings underscore that smoking treatment and prevention programs should consider predictors of risk for different stages of adolescent smoking.

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