Correlates of Perceived Smoking Prevalence Among Korean American Emerging Adults


Perceived smoking prevalence, a strong predictor of actual smoking behavior, may be influenced by the ethnicity and gender of the reference group presented to Korean American emerging adults. Self-identifying Korean and Korean Americans aged 18–25 (N = 475), were invited to complete a 15–20 min online survey about their attitudes towards smoking. Predictors of perceived smoking prevalence were evaluated separately for four reference groups: Caucasian Americans, Korean Americans in general, Korean American men, and Korean American women. Respondents’ smoking status was associated with perceived smoking prevalence for all reference groups except Caucasian Americans, even among light smokers. Father’s smoking status was associated with perceived smoking prevalence for Korean American men, only among females respondents. Findings suggest that ethnicity and gender of both the reference group and respondents influence smoking rate estimates. Tailoring intervention content to the target population’s gender and ethnicity may be a way to enhance smoking prevention strategies.

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The authors wish to thank our participants who contributed valuable information to the field. We also thank Zarina Abramova, Todd Choi, Aditi Jayaraman, Michelle Kang, Shelby Rusu, and Euikyung Shin for their assistance with the Project. This work was supported by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP 19FT-0089) and National Cancer Institute, Institutional Research Training Program in Cancer Control and Epidemiology (T32 CA009492).

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Correspondence to Christian J. Cerrada.

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Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

The Institutional Review Board at University of Southern California approved the study protocol.

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All participants completed informed consent prior to beginning the survey.

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Cerrada, C.J., Unger, J.B. & Huh, J. Correlates of Perceived Smoking Prevalence Among Korean American Emerging Adults. J Immigrant Minority Health 18, 1183–1189 (2016).

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  • Perceived smoking norms
  • Emerging adults
  • Korean American smokers