Compliance with Smoke-Free Policies in Korean Bars and Restaurants in California: a Descriptive Analysis

  • Irvin, Veronica L. (School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University) ;
  • Hofstetter, C. Richard (Department of Political Science, San Diego State University, Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health, Graduate School of Public Health) ;
  • Nichols, Jeanne F. (School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University) ;
  • Chambers, Christina D. (School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences) ;
  • Usita, Paula M. (Department of Pediatrics, University of California) ;
  • Norman, Gregory J. (Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California) ;
  • Kang, Sunny (Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University) ;
  • Hovell, Melbourne F. (Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University)
  • Published : 2015.03.04


Background: Compliance with California's smoke-free restaurant and bar policies may be more a function of social contingencies and less a function of legal contingencies. The aims of this study were: 1) to report indications of compliance with smoke-free legislation in Korean bars and restaurants in California; 2) to examine the demographic, smoking status, and acculturation factors of who smoked indoors; and 3) to report social cues in opposition to smoking among a sample of Koreans in California. Materials and Methods: Data were collected by telephone surveys administered by bilingual interviewers between 2007-2009, and included California adults of Korean descent who visited a Korean bar or restaurant in a typical month (N=2,173, 55% female). Results: 1% of restaurant-going participants smoked inside while 7% observed someone else smoke inside a Korean restaurant. Some 23% of bar-going participants smoked inside and 65% observed someone else smoke inside a Korean bar. Presence of ashtrays was related to indoor smoking in bars and restaurants. Among participants who observed smoking, a higher percentage observed someone ask a smoker to stop (17.6%) or gesture to a smoker (27.0%) inside Korean restaurants (N=169) than inside Korean bars (n=141, 17.0% observed verbal cue and 22.7% observed gesture). Participants who smoked inside were significantly younger and more acculturated than participants who did not. Less acculturated participants were significantly more to likely to be told to stop smoking. Conclusions: Ten years after implementation of ordinances, smoking appears to be common in Korean bars in California.


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