Academic-Community Partnership to Explore High-Smoking Prevalence in Filipina Girls
Smoking prevalence for Asian-Americans (AA) is low compared to non-AAs; however in Hawai`, the prevalence of smoking among Filipina high school girls is more than double that of Japanese high school girls. This study explored socio-cultural factors facilitating or serving as barriers against tobacco use among Filipina girls. Representatives from four community organizations, recognized for their work with Filipinos, were engaged throughout the research to facilitate the project and to ensure cultural relevance. Eleven focus groups (n=88), led by peer facilitators, discussed smoking. Twelve cultural key informants interpreted results presented from the transcripts. Results: Self-reported reasons why Filipina girls may smoke included the need to cope and to fit in. School and family responsibilities were commonly stated as barriers to smoking among Filipina girls. Nonetheless, many girls said they were given cigarettes from family members who smoked. Cultural key informants recommended conducting research on a larger sample of Filipina girls and offering family and school-based tobacco prevention programs. Conclusion: Collaboration with a variety of community partners helped provide rich qualitative data and findings regarding socio-cultural factors associated with smoking and recommendations to prevent smoking among Filipina girls. The role of family in preventing and promoting tobacco use needs further exploration. Family appears to be a promising area to explore future interventions to prevent smoking among Filipina girls.