By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The rate of cigarette smoking among New York City’s Asian Americans, particularly men, is a source of major concern in Brooklyn’s Chinatown, according to Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook), who said she has started a new anti-smoking campaign with local groups.
Gonzalex recently met with Wai Yee Chan, interim director of the Brooklyn Branch of the Chinese Planning Council (CPC) and the directors of the Brooklyn Smoke-Free Partnership (S-FP) to discuss their shared interest in reducing tobacco use and preventing people, particularly young people, from picking up the habit.
Numerous health studies have found that 90% of smokers start before age 18, Gonzalez said.
Last year, Gonzalez organized a press conference at the Chinese Planning Council to raise awareness of the CPC’s involvement with the Brooklyn Smoke-Free Partnership and to reveal strategies to quit smoking.
The press conference also highlighted the alarming numbers concerning the smoking rate in the Asian
What is unchanged from last year is the fact that the Asian smoking rate has remained stagnant while all other ethnic groups have demonstrated a decrease in rates, according to data from the city’s health department. An estimated 17 percent of Asian males in New York are smokers. In March, the New York Times reported on the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts to encourage Aisans to quit smoking.
Gonzalez said that she and Asian American leaders agreed that a strong approach is necessary in the anti-smoking campaign. To that end, the councilwoman announced that she is a sponsor of a new bill that would require owners of multiple dwellings to disclose their buildings’ smoking policy.
“I am delighted that a local agency like CPC has stepped up to address this issue in our district. Understanding the dangers of smoking and the effects of exposure to secondhand smoke, I’m a firm believer that we must all do our utmost to ensure that people can enjoy the benefits of living smoke-free,” Gonzalez said.
“We must also fight against Big Tobacco targeting our youth and help people, in any way we can, to quit smoking,” Gonzalez said.