MEETING THE UNIQUE NEEDS OF NATIVE AMERICANS

TRADITIONAL & COMMERCIAL TOBACCO

For thousands of years, American Indians and Alaska Natives have used traditional tobacco for ceremonial or medicinal purposes. When used in sacred rituals and offerings, it can promote spiritual guidance and growth. However, when commercial tobacco enters the picture, it can lead to addiction, disease and death.

Commercial tobacco is mass-produced for recreational use with added chemicals and boosted levels of nicotine. Unfortunately, due to a shortage of pure traditional tobacco, many Native Americans are turning to commercial tobacco as a substitute in their spiritual practices.

CULTURAL IMPACT

Of all racial or ethnic groups in the United States, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of cigarette smoking. As a result, cardiovascular disease and lung cancer have become leading causes of death, and diabetes prevalence has skyrocketed. All of these conditions are caused or worsened by smoking.

CHOOSING A HEALTHIER PATH

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline can help you quit commercial tobacco. Our Quit Coaches are specially trained to assist Native Americans in a culturally sensitive manner.

In addition to the Helpline, several nations in Oklahoma provide information to help you become tobacco free. For more information on various tribal programs, click here.

If you’re thinking about quitting, call 1-800-QUIT NOW to talk to a Quit Coach™, or register online and choose the FREE services that work best for you.

SOURCES:
http://keepitsacred.itcmi.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2015/06/CRIHB-Commercial-Tobacco-101.pdf
https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/american-indians/index.htm