May is nationally recognized as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of the diverse cultures and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in the United States.

May 10th is Asian Pacific American Mental Health Awareness Day in the State of California.

It has been well documented that stress is a risk factor for various physical and mental health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.

Recently, one study has also linked increased tobacco use with high levels of stress among Samoan smokers in California. Find it here.

Our partners at Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi in Hilo, Hawaiʻi shared some tips from their April 2019 Newsletter on healthy ways to manage stress. Everyone responds and manages with stress differently. The first step to adopting healthy coping behaviors is to identify stressors and recognize signs of stress. Are you feeling angry or depressed? What is making you feel these emotions?

Identify people who you can turn to for support. When needed, reach out to family members, friends, or your community for help. Ask them to join you in stress relief activities, it can be as simple as talking story or going out for a hike at a nearby trail. If you have persistent feelings of stress it may be good idea to see a licensed mental health professional.

Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration here for more resources on mental and behavioral health.

The Statewide Pacific Islander Asian American Resource and Coordinating Center (also known as SPARC) is funded through the California Tobacco Control Program and addresses tobacco related health disparities in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Our Executive Director, Rod Lew, was interviewed by Joseph Martin from the Rover Tobacco Control Library at UC Davis.

Listen to the podcast below to learn more!

Some of the highlights include:

  • Importance of using disaggregated data to see the high prevalence of tobacco use among diverse subpopulations
  • The need for strong advocates, and opportunities through our leadership development program
  • SPARC’s goals for developing community competent resources including toolkits, in-language educational materials, and digital storytelling!



Secondhand smoke harms children and adults. The CDC Tips campaign shares stories of real people living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. Learn more about the 2019 CDC Tips campaign at 

Read stories from people affected by secondhand smoke below.

Asian Smokers’ Quitline offers services in multiple languages. Call today to quit or help a family member or friend quit.

Chinese: 1-800-838-8917
Korean: 1-800-556-5564
Vietnamese: 1-800-778-8440



APPEAL is hosting its first Leadership Summit dedicated only to young adults! Help spread the word.

Apply here YAC Application

View event details

Join us on #WorldNoTobaccoDay 5/31/18 for a free webinar on Tobacco Cessation in Asian American communities! Hear from Asian Smokers’ Quitline and Center for Pan Asian Community Services!

Register Here:

The first day of Lunar New Year is on Feb 16, 2018 and it’s fast approaching! Some of our Asian community members may be busy with getting ready for the Lunar New Year and thinking about a resolution for the year of the dog. ASQ has prepared a pack of lucky red envelopes which will be given to each caller who calls ASQ to inquire about materials on how to quit smoking or to complete an online enrollment to receive a quit smoking service. Red symbolizes good fortune in Chinese and Vietnamese cultures, which is why red envelopes are widely used during Lunar New Year and other celebratory events. To celebrate the year of the dog and to wish everyone will have a healthy start of the New Year, red envelopes will be given out to Chinese and Vietnamese callers from now till February 20th while supplies last!

Refer to the ASQ website for more information. Language services available in Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, and English!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This has been a challenging year for our communities and our country.  Immigrant communities, communities of color and LGBTQ people have been under attack led by the growing xenophobic leadership in our country.  And if that is not enough, the problems of tobacco and unhealthy eating have increased in many of our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.  We, at APPEAL, believe that these injustices against our communities require a strategic, comprehensive approach that builds community power and community leadership especially among the younger generation.  For nearly 25 years, APPEAL has helped to build community leadership and power to help fight injustices through a nationally-renowned community leadership program resulting in the training of over 1,100 leaders and advocates in the U.S. and the Pacific.

Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL) is a national non-profit health justice organization dedicated to eliminating tobacco use and obesity in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and other communities of color through public health education and advocacy.

We hope that you will join us in supporting APPEAL’s important leadership development work by making a donation of $500 or more. If you would like to make a donation, please click here.  This will help us launch our “Youth for Equity and Justice” leadership initiative for 10 young adult leaders in 2018.  We have raised $6,500 so far out of our goal of $10,000. Thank you to those of you who have generously donated to this campaign.

APPEAL’s leadership model has been the pillar of our movement on tobacco control and healthy eating and active living.  By training and nurturing local leaders, APPEAL is ensuring the sustainability of advocates who can organize their communities to address critical health justice issues. Your contribution is an investment in the long-term health and well-being of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. Now more than ever we need you to consider a contribution to ensure continued progress in 2018.  Your generous and timely contribution is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely yours,

Rod Lew, MPH                                         Betty Lee Hawks
Executive Director                                      Board Chair

Kaying Hang, MPH


APPEAL’s Making Waves summit provided an opportunity to discuss strategies to advance health equity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities and other communities of color to eliminate tobacco use and obesity for future generations.

Summit Agenda: 2017 APPEAL Making Waves Agenda

Presentation slides from panelists will be uploaded soon:

Day of Community and Strategy: Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tobacco and Obesity Data on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders: Data and Community Approach

Paula Palmer, PhD

Claremont Graduate University, School of Community & Global Health

The Changing Landscape of Tobacco Control: Considerations for Policy, Planning, and Practice

Brian King, PhD, MPH

Office of Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Critical Issues in Tobacco and Obesity for AANHPIs

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Devices

Irene Linayao-Putman, MPH

County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency

Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL)

Fahina Tavake-Pasi

National Tongan American Society (NTAS)

Youth and Young Adult Engagement

Jake Ryann Sumibcay, MPH

Claremont Graduate University, School of Community & Global Health

Successful Strategies on Tobacco and HEAL

Capacity Building    

Jin Lee Johnson, MPH                                                 

MN Association of Community Health Centers

Community Policy

Alisi Tulua

Community Advocate

Mainstream Policy                                                   

Sambo Sak

Families in Good Health

Legislative Policy

Wat Sintharattana

Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS)


Table 1: Tobacco 101

Joann Lee, DrPH


Table 2: HEAL Food Campaigns     

Cathy Vue, MPH

Asian Services in Action (ASIA, Inc.)

HaRi Kim

Koreatown Youth and Community Center

Table 3: HEAL in the Community

DeHorne Sia

HOPE Clinic

Joseph Gonsalves

Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Inc.

Table 4: ENDDs/Marijuana

Elaine Ishihara, MPA

Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Advocating Together for Healthy Communities (APICAT)

Table 5: Tobacco Cessation

Janice Tsoh, PhD

UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education

Kamahanahokulani Farrar, MHRM

Na Pu’uwai Native Hawaiian Health System

Table 6: Other Tobacco Products

Arnab Mukherjea, DrPH, MPH

California State University, East Bay

Plenary Panel: Growing Our Movement

Michael Byun, MPA

Asian Services In Action (ASIA, Inc.)

Shra Alik

Pacific Partners for Tobacco Free Islands  (PPTFI)

Elaine Ishihara, MPA

Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Advocating Together for Healthy Communities (APICAT)
Day of Equity: Friday, September 22, 2017

Carol McGruder, APPEAL Health Equity Award Recipient

General Session Panel:

Getting to Equity in Tobacco and Obesity in a Challenging Environment

Claradina Soto, PhD, MPH

University Of Southern California Keck School Of Medicine

Gloria Soliz, M.Div, TTS

Coalition of Lavender-Americans on Smoking and Health (CLASH)/The Last Drag

Rebecca DeLaRosa, MPA

Latino Coalition for a Healthy California

Tana Lepule

Pacific Islander Community Health

What’s Next for Tobacco Control?


Phillip Gardiner, DrPH

UC Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP)

Health Care Systems

Elisa Tong, MD, MA

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

What’s Next for HEAL?

Soda Taxes

Kula Koenig

American Heart Association

Food Justice

Shaniece Alexander, MSW

Oakland Food Policy Council (OFPC)

Successful Tobacco/HEAL Policy Strategies

Community Leadership Development and Policy Change

Jaime Martinez, M.Ed

ClearWay Minnesota

Maximizing Retailers’ Responsiveness to FDA Regulatory Authority in Minority Communities

Jimi Huh, PhD

Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of Southern California

HEAL Policy Change

Xavier Morales, PhD, MRP

The Praxis Project

Opportunities for Equity

Measures of Change: Institutionalizing Health Equity within Tobacco Control

Rhodora Ursua, MPH


Voices from Health Department Equity Leaders

Lloyd Nadal, MA

California Department of Public Health

Office of Health Equity Advisory Committee

Paj Nandi, MPH

Washington State Department of Health