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Supporting Tribes to Increase Commercial Tobacco Cessation

Traditional tobacco has a cultural and spiritual importance to Indigenous communities in North America and is commonly used during traditional ceremonies or for medicinal purposes. Tobacco as a medicine is used for healing and as a way to promote spiritual, emotional, or physical well-being. The use and preparation of traditional tobacco varies from Tribe to Tribe. Typically traditional tobacco is tobacco and/or other plant mixtures grown or harvested for use by Tribal Nations.1 In comparison commercial tobacco is manufactured for use in cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, smokeless tobacco and other products for recreational use.

Commercial tobacco often contains other chemicals in addition to nicotine that are toxic and can lead to respiratory diseases, heart disease, as well as other illnesses. Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco and repeated use can lead to addiction for some. Over time the body can adapt to nicotine causing commercial tobacco users to need increase their usage and become dependent on nicotine making it hard to quit despite knowing the health risks.

Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year and is the most preventable leading cause of death.2 For example, lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among American Indians and Alaska Natives. A contributing factor is the use of commercial tobacco products. American Indian and Alaska Natives smoking rates are close to 40%3, the highest among all racial/ethnic groups.4

Source: American Indian Cancer Foundation. This and other infographics are available here. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/american-indians/index.htm)


Source: American Indian Cancer Foundation. This and other infographics are available here.

It is important to recognize the difference in traditional versus commercial tobacco and take that in to account when addressing tobacco usage. NIHB's new smoking cessation initiative, Supporting Tribes to Increase Commercial Tobacco Cessation, will help Tribal entities increase capacity to address commercial tobacco use in Tribal communities.

Supporting Tribes to Increase Commercial Tobacco Cessation, is a funding opportunity provided by the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and supported by the CDC. This opportunity continues NIHB's commitment to strengthening Tribal public health by offering support and technical assistance to Tribal governments and organizations to complete projects to increase quitting and quit attempts by promoting smoking cessation programs and adapting evidence-informed systems changes.

The intended outcomes include:

  • Increased quitting and quit smoking attempts
  • Improved communication capacity to inform communities effectively and efficiently about evidence-based cessation programs and services
  • Increased capability to implement evidence-based/informed cessation programs and services and policies to address cigarette usage, and
  • Increased capacity to identify, prioritize and customize relevant cessation programs and services to address community needs

NIHB will support Tribes through funding, technical assistance, broad education, and outreach activities.


1 https://keepitsacred.itcmi.org/tobacco-and-tradition/traditional-tobacco-use/
2 https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm
3 https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/1998/highlights/ataglance/index.htm
4 https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/american-indians/index.htm


 


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Public Health Inquiries:

Robert Foley, M.Ed.
Chief Programs Officer

National Indian Health Board
910 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Phone: 202-355-5494
Washington, DC 20003
[email protected]