While the Bloomberg Administration has successfully driven down the number of smokers overall in NYC by 35% since 2002, the Department of Health is frustrated by the fact that the number of Asian smokers has stayed flat. So, the NY Times reports, "On Thursday, the department stepped up its appeals to Asian smokers, introducing graphic ads in Chinese for its annual campaign to distribute nicotine patches and gum, and offering Chinese speakers for those who call 311 to enroll in the program. The department will also seed the ethnic news media with translated versions of its antismoking campaign called 'Pain,' which depicts excruciating smoking-related cancers." And it's not pretty!

NYU Medical School associate professor Dr. Donna Shelley explained that among Asians, "there are 'persistent cultural norms around smoking that the city’s policies and programs have not really penetrated.' ... For example, gifts of cigarettes at a holiday gathering, where other groups might give, say, a bottle of Malbec, are routine, Dr. Shelley found."

Then there's the catch-22 of families trying to intervene with elders who smoke: "A culture of deference to elders that threads through many Asian groups is another potential roadblock, Dr. Shelley said. Correcting an older person’s behavior may be seen as disrespectful, not helpful." A 22-year-old Chinese smoker, who gets his cigarettes from Taiwan or duty-free shops, said, "I’m not going to tell my grandpa what to do. He’s older than me so, if you want to smoke, go ahead and smoke."