An e-mail of a press release was forwarded to me about a $300,000 grant from Tufts to various Chinatown organizations (some of which I am part of through this blog) to stop smoking in the Chinatown Community.
It says for immediate release but at the end there is a warning about not sharing the e-mail which is confusing which is why I didn't lazily cut and paste all the nice quotes written out for me from various Chinatown Community leaders.
But I have to laugh.
It's true that Chinese tend to smoke more than other groups. But the press release suggests that this is because Chinese immigrants can't read the English warning signs that smoking may cause cancer.
Having had this conversation a million times with my Sifu and other friends, I learned that the Chinese Warning sign on "Double Happiness" Cigarettes or "Panda" Cigarettes reads, "Smoking will Kill you."
It's not so much that they don't know....
It's that they don't care. Or they think of it like, "At least I'm not smoking Opium."
Chinese may smoke at a higher rate while Smoking has declined among other ethnic groups, but in the meantime educated white people, you know people who can read signs, have taken up heroin again.
The Poppy plant that made China a "Sick Man of Asia" has had a rebirth in the United States.
But it's true that there is a certain look to the types of Chinese that smoke. The Phd Post docs are not smoking cigarettes and offering them to kids. (While helping a Vietnamese/Chinese Neighbor study for his Citizenship test as a child, he would always offer me cigarettes. It's true that due to the constant education in School I always said no. When my Sifu offered me I usually said no. At some point I said yes. But I never got addicted. I quit not because of long term health effects, but because of immediate health effects. The cigarettes ruined my appetite and also made me feel "yeet hei" or overheated. Also they produced no effect that could possibly make me want to pay for them unless I was buying them as a gift. Of course they are bad for you.)
I went to Taishan as a n adult and was always offered cigarettes the way you would be offered tea or beer or wine or white rice. (All of these things btw are argued to be bad for. you. Well maybe not tea. And there are also counter arguments as well for tea and "good" alcohol.)
When I said I did not smoke an old man said, "Ahh ho jai ah." A good boy, "My son doesn't smoke either. That's right smoking is bad for your health. I tried to quit, but I'm addicted. I got sick from withdrawal. I can't quit."
It should be noted that the guy was probably like 70 or 80.
There is this old man I know who will do Tai Chin in the park and then stop mid way to light up in the children's playground. I always found his routine very ironic, especially after learning he was a Chinese doctor.
It's true, smoking kills... but I think the real hit to most Chinese to get them to quit would be the money. That it's a waste of money. They do the cigarettes because the one thing that I noticed when I smoked was that I chopped vegetables faster. It's a workers drug. A drug to make you better at being a Chinese restaurant worker.
Prove that this isn't the case i.e. you will have to take more cigarette breaks and spend more money for cigarettes...well that will get the owners. But I just realized that if you get a break from work because you smoke but don't if you don't smoke... that's a good way of getting addicted right there.
But if owners said you get a "Tai Chi Break" to stretch and do some Chi Gung outside where people usually smoke and of the owners did this too to signal that this was encouraged, then you would see a drop in smoking I think and possibly an increase in worker production. Maybe. I don't know. Maybe the result will be the opposite because workers will be breathing in Traffic smog anyway.
What is annoying is that the smoking is happening in playgrounds where children play. But I would also like to note that I saw this millenial white woman sitting at Tai Tung park puffing away while on her IPHONE. She had no kids. She was just sitting there to relax.
But yes, Chinese people smoke a lot and it's great that Tufts wants to put $300,000 dollars into a campaign to help "educate poor immigrants."