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Vietnamese To Quit Smoking
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It is in California where a number of Vietnamese immigrants learned to quit smoking. One of the most effective anti-smoking campaigns ever conducted among Southeast Asian refugees was accomplished by Suc Khoe La Vang, the Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project out of the University of California, San Francisco.
"Up to 50% of the participants quit in the first year," one doctor in San Jose told me. He showed movies, charts and documents on how smoking affects human's health and the health of one's family. One man cried and said he didn't know secondary smoke was hurting his children, and had negative effects on their mental development.
Thus he found the strength to quit smoking not for himself, but for his children's future.
If Hanoi wants to really change its population's bad habit, it should do more than edit local films, and it should stop clamping down on information sharing. It should address the conflict of interest in being a monopoly in selling cigarettes, and carrying out anti-smoking campaigns.. If it is really serious about stopping the epidemic, it should at the very least double the taxes on cigarettes sales.
The key to stopping this bad habit is to educate the population on the effects of secondhand smoke. A Vietnamese won't give up for himself, but for his family, for his children, it's another matter. He or she will find the will power to do so.
Meanwhile, I too have a new resolve. Next time when I am back in Asia and someone offers me a cigarette, even at the risk of being seen as standoffish, or even a sissy, I'm prepared to say "Thanks, but no thanks. I don't smoke cheap cigarettes."
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