Chinese immigrant smokers’ access barriers to tobacco cessation services and experience using social media and text messaging

Nan Jiang, Yidan Zhang, Xiaokun Qian, Lorna Thorpe, Chau Trinh-Shevrin, Donna Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION Smoking rates remain disproportionately high among Chinese immigrants in the US, particularly in males. Community-based smoking cessation services and quitlines have low engagement rates. Social media and text messaging programs can be effective in promoting quit rates and improving treatment engagement. This study examined Chinese immigrant smokers’ barriers to accessing available smoking cessation services and patterns of using social media platforms and mobile phone text messaging. METHODS We conducted in-depth interviews (n=30) and a brief survey (n=49) with adult Chinese immigrant smokers leaving in New York City in 2018. Qualitative interviews explored smokers’ challenges with smoking cessation, barriers to accessing and using smoking cessation services, and experience using social media and text messaging. The quantitative survey assessed smoking and quitting behaviors, and social media and text messaging use patterns. RESULTS Qualitative data revealed that participants faced various barriers to accessing cessation services, including the lack of awareness about services, skepticism about treatment effects, reliance on willpower for cessation, and time constraints. WeChat was mainly used to maintain social networking and acquire information. Participants rarely used text messaging or other social media platforms. Quantitative data showed that 55% of participants had no plan to quit smoking. Among those who reported past-year quit attempts (45%), 55% used cessation assistance. WeChat was the most frequently used platform with 94% users. CONCLUSIONS WeChat has potential to serve as an easily accessible platform for delivering smoking cessation treatment among Chinese immigrant populations. Research is warranted to explore the feasibility and efficacy of employing WeChat in smoking cessation treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalTobacco Prevention and Cessation
Issue numberSeptember
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Chinese immigrant
  • cessation
  • mobile health
  • smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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