A study by Indian origin researcher says the neighborhood where we live might play an important role when it comes to smoking.
The new study involving Asian-Americans population showed that people living in cohesive neighborhood are less likely to smoke. While local socioeconomic status did not affect smoking behavior, other community traits did.
The research team led by Dr. Namratha Kandula, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University evaluated 3,875 Asian adults who participated in the 2003 California Health Interview Survey, a telephone survey of randomly selected households.
The Asian-Americans included people of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and South Asian origin.
Of these men, 22 percent were smokers, while 6 percent of Asian women smoked, compared to 19 percent of men and 16 percent women among whites.
"We did think that living in an Asian enclave would protect women against smoking because Asian women living in enclaves would be more likely to mirror the social and cultural norms of Asian countries, where smoking rates among women are very low," said Kandula.
Neighborhood cohesiveness, she said, for example, if neighbors were helpful, trusted and shared the same values, might influence smoking because the cohesion helps lower stress.
"One of the more interesting findings of this study was the different effects of neighborhood characteristics by gender among Asian-Americans, and within that the differences in Asian subgroups," said Tamara Dubowitz, an associate policy researcher at RAND.
She said such findings "suggest that examining country of origin among immigrant populations is essential."
The findings appear in American Journal of Public Health.