About the Project

South Asians — individuals from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka — represent the third most populous Asian group in the U.S. While high rates of tobacco use, both cigarette smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco, have been documented in certain South Asian countries, we know relatively little about the rate of tobacco use or choice of tobacco products among these populations in the U.S.

Moreover, our knowledge of the factors that influence tobacco use among SAs in this country is extremely limited. Across all racial/ethnic groups in the U.S., young adults have among the highest rates of tobacco use. Yet, to date, they remain largely understudied and, as a result, present unique challenges to the development of effective methods to quit tobacco use. To our knowledge, scientifically-based programs developed specifically to help young adult South Asian populations quit tobacco use do not exist.

Over the two years of this proposed project, we will establish a community-university collaboration to study tobacco use among 176 Bangladeshi, Indian, Nepali, and Pakistani current and former tobacco users between 18 and 29 years of age. Utilizing in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys, and real time data collection using cell phones, we will identify the cultural, social, environmental, and intrapersonal factors that impact smoking and quitting behaviors among our South Asian participants. We will disseminate our findings to South Asian communities through community meetings, webinars and other web-based distribution methods and to external audiences through scientific meetings and publications.

Ultimately, our study results will inform the development of future cessation strategies uniquely suited to young adult South Asians in the U.S. The proposed pilot is directly relevant to the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program research mission in that it addresses one of its primary areas of research, namely, prevention and cessation of tobacco use among California’s diverse populations.


Paula H. Palmer
Academic Principal Investigator

Bin Xie

James Pike
Multimedia Specialist

Investigators at Partner Institutions

Zul Surani
Community Principal Investigator
Saath USA http://www.saathusa.org/

Ongoing Activities

This research project is currently in the process of recruiting and assessing subjects.


Data collection and analysis is currently ongoing.


This research was supported by funds from the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program of the University of California, Grant Number 19BT-0041.