Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have the highest prevalence of cigarette smoking compared to all other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. As some American Indians use traditional tobacco for ceremonial, prayer, or medicinal purposes; it is important to understand the distinction between commercial tobacco and traditional tobacco use.
What are the Health Effects of Commercial Tobacco Use?
- Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death among the AI/AN population and commercial tobacco use is a significant risk factor for this disease. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics 2013 .
- Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among the AI/AN population. Source: CDC .
What is Secondhand and Thirdhand Smoke?
- Secondhand smoke is smoke that comes off of a lit cigarette, and comes out of the smoker’s mouth and nose.
- Thirdhand smoke is smoke that stays in clothes, hair, walls, and furniture, and the skin of the smoker. It stays there even after the cigarette is put out.
Help Protect our Children from Secondhand and Thirdhand Smoke by:
- Not allowing anyone to smoke tobacco anywhere in or near your home.
- Not allowing anyone to smoke tobacco in your car, even with the windows down.
- Making sure that your children’s day care centers and schools are free of tobacco smoke.
What are we Doing?
- Preventing tobacco use
- Addressing secondhand smoke
- Providing tobacco prevention and intervention webinars on what works
- Providing training on Basic Tobacco Intervention Skills Certification Training
- Providing downloadable posters and information cards, and a public service announcement script [PDF - 85 KB]
Commercial Tobacco Use Among the AI/AN Population
Cigarette Smoking Prevalence among Adults
- Smoking among American Indian/ Alaska Native men 18 years and over who currently smoke cigarettes (23.2%) compared with non-Hispanic white (21.1%), Black (22.8%) and Hispanic or Latino (16.2%). Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics 2013 [PDF - 17 MB].
- American Indian /Alaska Native women 18 years and over who currently smoke cigarettes (23.2%) compared with non-Hispanic white (17.2%), Black (15.4%), and Hispanic or Latino (8.3%). Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics 2013 [PDF - 17 MB].
Use among Pregnant Women
- Smoking during pregnancy was highest among American Indians/Alaska Natives (26.0%) compared with non-Hispanic white (14.3%), Black (18.9%), and Hispanic (3.4%). Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2013.
Cigarette Smoking Prevalence among American Indian/Alaska Native Adults by Region and Gender
|Smokers by Region||Male||Female|
Source: Cobb et al. American Journal of Public Health, April 22, 2014.
To find links to other resources and watch archive IHS presentations on Tobacco prevention, visit the Tobacco Prevention Resources for Providers page.
To see the Tobacco Free media campaign posters and promotional cards on Tobacco prevention, visit the Tobacco Free Campaign page.
A public service announcement script [PDF - 85 KB] is available for you to use to promote Tobacco Free in your area.