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Critical Policy Issues on Tobacco Prevention and Control for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities

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In 2000, tobacco-related illness was the single most preventable cause of death among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), claiming the lives of between 15,000 and 20,000 individuals. The 2000 National Youth Tobacco Survey estimated a seven-fold increase in AAPI youth smoking between 7th and 12th grade, the largest increase of any ethnic group. AAPI developed a set of policy recommendations to prevent and reduce the use of tobacco and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke for the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The goal of these policy recommendations is to encourage AAPI communities to advocate prevention and control in a comprehensive, coordinated, culturally-tailored and community-effective approach. This policy framework identifies plans for research and data collection, capacity building, and countering the tobacco industry's targeted advertising. It also discusses youth prevention and mobilization, cessation programs, clean indoor air advocacy, institutionalization of AAPI tobacco issues, and ideas for international tobacco control. These policy recommendations emphasize education and awareness and outline the need to plan on the local, state, national and international level. They recommend funding for a variety of initiatives including long-term funding for a National AAPI Tobacco Control Center for the U.S. and Pacific Islanders to ensure the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention programs, capacity building, technical assistance and training.