American Indian

The Story of American Indian

Some American Indian traditional use of tobacco is for ceremonial or religious reasons, which creates an important distinction between traditional and commercial use. The tobacco industry preys on these traditions, funding powwows and promoting brands like Natural American Spirit1. They appropriate American Indian cultures to sell their deadly products, not to show meaningful support for American Indian communities2.

Big Tobacco also sees American Indian-owned casinos as an avenue to distribute their products.  The Industry funds these businesses in exchange for carrying an endless supply of cigarettes, preying on concerns that allowing indoor smoking is key to their casino’s success,3 despite evidence that a smoke-free environment would actually increase patronage.4

This kind of cultural exploitation contributes to American Indian communities having the highest rate of smoking prevalence in California, and the only group where smoking is on the rise.5 Nearly one in three native adults in California smoke.  However, tobacco’s harm goes beyond those that use it – native populations also report more exposure to secondhand smoke at home.6

It’s time to break Big Tobacco’s grip on American Indian communities.

  1. https://truthinitiative.org/news/tobacco-social-justice-issue-racial-and-ethnic-minorities
  2. Joanne D’Silva, Erin O’Gara, Nicole T Villaluz, Tobacco Industy Misappropriation of American Indian Culture and Traditional Tobacco
  3. Manipulating a Sacred Tradition: An Investigation of Commercial Tobacco Marketing & Sales Strategies on the Navajo Nation and other Native Tribes, American Cancer Society and Americans for Nonsmokers Rights.
  4. Isaiah “Shaneequa” Brokenleg, MPH, Teresa K. Barber, MEd, Nancy L. Bennett, BS, Simone Peart Boyce, PhD, and Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, DrPH, Gambling with Our Health: Smoke-Free Policy Would Not Reduce Tribal Casino Patronage, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, ; David S Timberlake, corresponding author, Jun Wu, and Wael K Al-Delaimy, Tribal casinos in California: the last vestige of indoor smoking, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,
  5. 2017 Story of Inequity, Indicator: Prevalence of adult cigarette smoking by priority population group and Indicator: Rate of change in prevalence of adult cigarette smoking by priority population group, 2007 to 2013-2014.
  6. 2017 Story of Inequity, Proportion of each priority population group with a smoke-free home.

The Proof is in the Data

Indicator
American Indian
General Population
Adult Tobacco Use
1.Adult Cigarette Use: Adult cigarette smoking prevalenceincludes Alaska Native32.2%12.4%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
2.Change in Adult Cigarette Use: Rate of change in adult cigarette smoking, 2007 to 2014includes Alaska Native16.8%-16.1%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2007. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.
3.Adult Tobacco Use: Adult tobacco use prevalence (including all tobacco products, e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes, other tobacco products)40.5%17.4%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013-2014.
Youth Tobacco Use
4.Youth Cigarette Use: Youth cigarette smoking prevalenceincludes Alaska Native5%4.3%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-2016.
5.Change in Youth Tobacco Use: Rate of change in youth cigarette smoking, 2002 to 2016includes Alaska Native-73%-73.4%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2001-2002.
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-2016.
6.Youth Tobacco Use: Youth tobacco use prevalence (including all tobacco products, e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes, other tobacco products)includes Alaska Native24.2%13.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Student Tobacco Survey, 2015-2016.
Availability of Tobacco & Tobacco Industry Influence
7.Cheapest Cigarettes: Average price for the cheapest pack of cigarettesincludes Alaska Native$4.48$4.58
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
8.Flavored Little Cigar Price: Average price for a single flavored little cigar/cigarilloincludes Alaska Native$0.98$0.97
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
9.Tobacco Retail Licensing: Proportion of population protected by a strong tobacco retail licensing lawincludes Alaska Native23.8%36.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2015.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2009-2013.
10.Tobacco Stores: Density of stores selling tobacco per 100,000 residentsincludes Alaska Native10786
  • California Department of Tax and Fees Administration. California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer Licensees, October 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
11.Flavored Tobacco: Proportion of stores that sell flavored non-cigarette tobacco productsincludes Alaska Native86.3%81.8%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
12.Menthol Cigarettes: Proportion of stores that sell menthol cigarettesincludes Alaska Native92.9%92.2%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
13.Tobacco Advertising: Percentage of stores that keep 90% of their storefronts free from any advertisingincludes Alaska Native37.3%37%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
Secondhand Smoke
14.Smoke-free Multi-unit Housing: Proportion of population protected by a smoke-free multi-unit housing lawincludes Alaska Native6.8%8.6%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Policy Evaluation Tracking System, December 2016.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2009-2013.
15.Smoke-free Homes: Proportion of smoke-free homesincludes Alaska Native68.7%92.9%
  • California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013-2014.
Cessation
16.California Smokers’ Helpline Enrollees: Proportion of California Smokers' Helpline enrolleesincludes Alaska Native1%1.2%
  • California Smokers' Helpline. Helpline Caller Intake Reports, July to December 2016.
17.Quitting: Proportion of smokers who tried quitting in the last 12 monthsincludes Alaska Native59.3%60.6%
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AskCHIS 2013-2014. http://ask.chis.ucla.edu.

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A Story of Inequity

Tobacco's Impact on Health Disparities in California

For decades, the tobacco industry has aggressively targeted California’s diverse communities with predatory practices. Internal documents from Big Tobacco outline their strategies – many of which are shocking attempts to peddle deadly products by way of product discounts and manipulative advertising. They even gave away free products to youth in the past. These tactics masquerade as support for communities under the guise of cultural celebration.

Unfortunately, the tactics have worked. Big Tobacco aggressively targeted communities and, as a result, some populations have higher rates of tobacco use, experience greater secondhand smoke exposure at work and at home, and have higher rates of tobacco-related disease than the general population.1

Addressing tobacco-related health inequities is key to California’s efforts to fight tobacco, our state’s number one cause of preventable death and disease.2 Tobacco use, pricing, and its impact across California were analyzed where significant disparities were found across various populations. See how Big Tobacco affects each community in the Nation’s most diverse state.

A Story Of Inequity Methodology >

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tobacco-Related Disparities
  2. Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic in California, April 11, 2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention