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Written By Keelin Caldwell, Associate Director of Programs

According to Tufts Medical Center, smoking is prevalent in foreign-born Asian American men and is a major health issue in Boston’s Asian population. In order to help address this challenging problem, Tufts Medical Center’s Asian Health Initiative (AHI) focused its 2017-2019 funding on programs that target smoking prevention and cessation. The Greenway Conservancy and the Asian American Civic Association (AACA) teamed up and were awarded a joint grant to address smoking, with a focus on Mary Soo Hoo Park on The Greenway.

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PlayCubes are a family friendly attraction in Chinatown Park

This grant helped fund AACA’s Smoking Cessation Specialist, who spends time in the park providing materials and engaging with park users on this topic. She also leads support meetings, schedules doctor’s visits and creates personalized smoking cessation plans. In addition to her work, The Greenway Conservancy added signage to Mary Soo Hoo Park, and our Park Rangers distribute bilingual handouts.

It’s not easy to convince a social community to change their habits, but there was a noted decrease in smoking behavior while AACA staff were in the park. The Smoking Cessation Specialist has made over 1200 contacts, 24 people have made a commitment to stop smoking, and three lifelong smokers have quit.

This project joins six others funded by the AHI in tackling smoking from a variety of angles. Projects include prevention awareness for elementary school students in Josiah Quincy School, an information campaign in Sampan (the regional bilingual newspaper) and a smoke-free living program at the Greater Boston Golden Age Center. Read more about this important work at the Asian Health Initiative website.