Why do Chinese people with COPD continue smoking: The attitudes and beliefs of Chinese residents of Vancouver, Canada

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is currently one of the most common chronic lung diseases and a growing cause of global morbidity and mortality. Smoking is the most important risk factor for its development, and about 20% of smokers develop COPD. This study took place in Metro Vancouver, Canada. The aim of the study was to compare and contrast the smoking habits and associated beliefs among two groups of Chinese people after receiving a diagnosis of COPD: those who successfully stopped smoking and those who continued to smoking. Ninety one Mandarin or Cantonese speaking patients with COPD, of whom 24 were current smokers and 67 were former smokers, participated in individual semi-structured interviews. Participants were recruited with the assistance of primary care physicians and respirologists in the Metro Vancouver. Data were analyzed using hand coding for qualitative content analysis. Differences between the two groups were assessed. Smoking experience, social influences, addiction/habit, and the advantages and disadvantages of smoking were identified. In particular, differences between smokers and former smokers found in terms of beliefs that smoking helps relaxation and reduces COPD anxiety and stress, and that smoking is a psychological habit that cannot give up easily. Significant information on barriers to successful smoking cessation was also elucidated. This study suggests we need to first understand Chinese smokers' internal motivations to quit and then assist with culturally and linguistically relevant smoking cessation counselling. Further research is needed to determine if communication regarding tobacco use that is targeted toward the Chinese-speaking population in North America improves cessation rates.




Poureslami, I., Shum, J., & FitzGerald, J. M. (2015). Why do Chinese people with COPD continue smoking: The attitudes and beliefs of Chinese residents of Vancouver, Canada. Diversity and Equality in Health and Care, 12(1), 18–27. https://doi.org/10.21767/2049-5471.100025

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