Despite its location in the hustle-bustle of downtown Manhattan, Chinatown is often seen as an insulated island. Chinese immigrants here can live in the same way that they did in their home country - speaking the same language, eating the same food and taking part in the same ceremonies. Sometimes, though, the outside world sweeps in and unsettles the Chinese way. For example, city Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden recently kicked off a campaign against smoking in the Chinese community. And he had cause - the male smoking rate in the area is almost twice the city's average. The campaign comes complete with scary advertising, using a portrait of a family looking happy - except for the father, who is fading out in a smoky haze. That caught people's eyes, as did the US$160 therapeutic nicotine-replacement patches distributed free to Chinese smokers, which soon ran out. However, creating a non-smoking Chinatown will not be easy. The smoking culture runs deep in Chinatown. Soon after Mayor Mike Bloomberg banned smoking in bars and clubs in the city two years ago, a brutal fight - which led to the death of a bartender - was triggered by some Chinese youths lighting cigarettes in a Manhattan bar. There is an old saying in Chinese: 'A cigarette after food makes you feel better than God.' Smoking is a tradition among Chinese men, and they bring it with them when they immigrate to the United States. Although it violates the law to smoke in public buildings, it only takes a few minutes wandering through Chinatown to find community organisations where smoking is not only tolerated but almost encouraged. Eddie Chiu, the president of the Lin Sing Association - a community group - told members not to smoke in his offices two years ago. But it took him several months of bathroom checks and arguments to enact the ban. Mr Chiu used to be a heavy smoker. Thirty years ago, when he first arrived from Hong Kong, he puffed away while working in a Chinese restaurant. He quit years ago but said he understood the desire for cigarettes when new immigrants missed home or struggled with other stresses of a migrant's life. Steven Wong, president of Lin Zexu Foundation, is resigned to the fact that he will never be able to quit smoking. His organisation is named after a Qing dynasty hero who campaigned against opium, and its mission is to wipe out drug use. But temptation is everywhere. 'It's a Chinese tradition that we pass each other a cigarette to show our respect,' he said. 'I am a community leader and people pass me a cigarette whenever they see me. I have no way to stay away from the temptation.'