Thursday, June 13, 2013

Native Americans and Smoking Behavior

The cost of tobacco use on human health is well-established (Bartecchi, MacKenzie, & Schrier, 1994). Six million teenagers smoke, and an additional one hundred thousand children under the age of 13 smoke as well (Bartecchi, MacKenzie, & Schrier, 1994). The decline in smoking behavior in the United States over the last twenty years is not reflected in the smoking behaviors of Native Americans (Lichtenstein, Glasgow, Lopez, Hall, McRae, & Myers, 1995). Teens who smoke varies across ethnicities and White teens have the highest percentage of smokers (31%) among Whites, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Blacks (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1998). In 2000, 36% of Native American teens smoked.

One difference across ethnicities is the role of parents in deterring the smoking behavior of their children (Phelps, 2005). For example, although White parents and Native American parents had similar anti-smoking attitudes for their children, with two exceptions: Native American parents did not believe that schools were as effective as parents in promoting no smoking behaviors, and less educated Native American parents believed that advising children against smoking would make them want to smoke more (Phelps, 2005).

These parental attitudes may pose a challenge to changing the health behaviors of Native American adolescents, although there is a paucity of research on the relationship between adolescent smoking rates and parental anti-smoking attitudes. Anti-smoking socialization campaigns for Native American teens might appropriately include parent education (Kegler & Malcoe, 2005). To prevent children from lower income and rural communities from initiating smoking behavior, parents must learn how to communicate effective antismoking beliefs and attitudes that they can comfortably and honestly communicate to their teens (Kegler & Malcoe, 2005).

Bartecchi, C. E., MacKenzie, T. D., & Schrier, R. W. (1994). The Human Costs of Tobacco Use. New England Journal Of Medicine, 330(13), 907-912. doi:10.1056/NEJM199403313301307

Lichtenstein, E., Glasgow, R. E., Lopez, K., Hall, R., McRae, S., & Meyers, G. (1995). Promoting Tobacco Control Policies in Northwest Indian Tribes. American Journal Of Public Health, 85(7), 991-994.

Lopez, S. J., Edwards, L. M., Pedrotto, J. T., Ito, A., & Rasmussen, H. N. (2002). Culture counts: Examinations of recent applications of the Penn Resiliency Program or, toward a rubric for examining cultural appropriateness of preventative programming. Prevention & Treatment, 5(1).

US Department of Health and Human Services (1998) Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups/African-Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General. US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, Atlanta, GA.

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