• Asian American adolescent;
  • first smoking experiences;
  • metamotivational states;
  • reversal theory;
  • smoking



To explore the metamotivational states experienced during first smoking experiences of Asian American adolescents.

Design and Sample

This survey research investigated the differences among the smokers, resisters, and smoking naives of a convenience sample of 328 Asian Americans, aged 16–19 in New York City (NYC).


The study used a demographic questionnaire, Temptation Episode Surveys (First Smoking Occasion, First Resisted Smoking Opportunity, and Opinions on First Smoking Occasion), the Telic/Paratelic State Instrument, and the Rebellious State Scale.


Statistical analyses revealed that Asian American adolescents smoked the first time when in paratelic, arousal-seeking states, and when the physical and social environments are permissive to smoking, initiation opportunities such as presence of peers and friends smoking and in places where adults are not present.


The first smoking experiences of Asian American adolescents parallel that of smoking cessation when individuals lapse in a highly tempting situation and when the environment is permissive to smoking. This study is the first to use reversal theory pairs as a framework for smoking initiation. Smoking prevention and intervention programs should consider the importance of the physical, social environment, and the psychological states of adolescents when they smoke the first time.