Background: Smoking rates remain disproportionally high in Chinese Americans, particularly among male immigrants. In New York City, the current smoking rate among Chinese American men is significantly higher than the general male population (28.2% vs. 17.5%). Foreign-born Chinese Americans are more likely to smoke than their US-born counterparts. The persistently high smoking rate among Chinese Americans is largely due to two factors: low intention to quit which might be attributed to Chinese immigrants' low health literacy related to the harms of smoking and benefits of quitting, and persistent attachment to traditional Chinese social norms that continue to support smoking in men. The other factor is the low utilization of the existing available smoking cessation resources which might be explained by the lack of culturally adapted cessation treatment services targeting Chinese Americans and their access barriers to the treatment services. The fast growing use of social media represents an opportunity to overcome the access barriers to smoking cessation treatment. WeChat, the most popular social media platform among Chinese globally, is fully integrated into the daily lives of Chinese, and thereby has the potential to reach a wide audience of Chinese immigrants and promote smoking cessation. Yet, no study has explored the use of WeChat to deliver culturally adapted smoking cessation interventions targeting Chinese immigrant smokers. Research: The goal of this study is to design and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effect of a WeChat-based multi-component smoking cessation intervention that is adapted to the cultural and social context of Chinese immigrant smokers. The intervention will consist of four components, including a fully automated bidirectional mobile messaging system (core of the intervention), infographics, narratives, and links to existing cessation treatment services that target Chinese Americans. Focus groups will be conducted to guide the adaptation of messages, infographics, and storytelling narratives. A single arm pilot test will be conducted to examine the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. A two-arm pilot randomized controlled trial will be conducted to examine the preliminary effectiveness of the intervention. Training: The training plan is built upon my research experience in tobacco control. I will receive training and mentored research experience in social media health interventions, mixed methods, health disparities, clinical trials and grant writing. The pedagogical approach includes one-on-one mentorship, formal coursework, workshop, seminars, webinars, and attendance at conferences in areas of high relevance to this project.
Smoking rates remain disproportionally high in Chinese immigrants particularly among males, despite the availability of evidence-based smoking cessation treatment services targeting Chinese Americans. WeChat, the most popular social media platform among Chinese globally, is fully integrated into the daily lives of Chinese and thereby can be a powerful tool to disseminate health messages and promote healthy behavior changes. This K01 project will explore the use of WeChat to deliver a culturally adapted cessation intervention and will provide important feasibility and initial efficacy data to inform future larger trials that use social media approach for smoking cessation treatment among disadvantaged populations including Chinese immigrants.