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Tobacco use among American Indian adolescents in California

Institution: University of Southern California
Investigator(s): Jennifer Unger, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2003 (Cycle 12) Grant #: 12RT-0253H Award: $368,975
Subject Area: Epidemiology
Award Type: Research Project Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
Relative to other groups in California, American Indian adolescents have not benefited equally from tobacco control and research efforts. Before implementing large-scale tobacco prevention interventions for American Indian adolescents in California, more information is needed about their tobacco use patterns, their psychosocial and cultural risk and protective factors, and their reactions to the California Tobacco Control Program. This study is using existing statewide datasets and collecting new qualitative data to examine these issues.

In Year 1 of the study, we have analyzed data from the 1999 and 2002 California Tobacco Survey, and we have conducted 5 focus groups of American Indian adolescents in California. The qualitative research produced several new findings. The American Indian adolescents in our focus groups were aware of the use of tobacco at PowWows, drum groups, and ceremonies. Commercially-produced cigarettes and loose tobacco are often substituted for homegrown tobacco for ceremonial use because commercial tobacco is easier to obtain. The adolescents reported that many of their family members smoked. Most reported that their parents did not want them to smoke, but this was more of a suggestion than a rule. The adolescents had easy access to tobacco from family members and friends, even if they could not buy it in stores. Respondents were frequently exposed to secondhand smoke in the home and at gatherings, and they felt unable to avoid it. They were aware of the use of American Indian imagery to advertise cigarettes, and their reactions to this stereotypical imagery were negative. They felt that white people were exploiting American Indian images to make money. Most respondents had seen general-audience and ethnically-targeted anti-tobacco ads and thought they were funny or attractive, but the ads did not make them decide not to smoke.

By combining the 1999 and 2002 California Tobacco Surveys, we were able to obtain a sample of 499 American Indian adolescents throughout California for quantitative analysis. The quantitative research was generally consistent with the qualitative findings. Relative to most other ethnic groups, American Indian adolescents were equally likely to have friends who smoked, but they were more likely to have parents who smoked. They were less to say that their parents expressed desire for them not to smoke. They were more likely to believe that occasional smoking was not harmful. Surprisingly, the American Indian respondents reported more difficult access to cigarettes compared with the other ethnic groups. Fewer than 1% had purchased tobacco from stores on Indian reservations.

In Year 2, we will continue to collect qualitative data and analyze the qualitative and quantitative data. We will synthesize the information and form recommendations for tobacco education for American Indian adolescents in California.
Publications

Perceptions of ceremonial and non-ceremonial uses of tobacco by American Indian adolescents in California.
Periodical: Journal of Adolescent Health Index Medicus:
Authors: Unger JB, Soto C, Baezconde-Garbanati L ART
Yr: 2006 Vol: 38 Nbr: 4 Abs: Pg: 9-16

Family- and peer-related risk and protective factors for tobacco use among American Indian adolescents in California.
Periodical: Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse Index Medicus:
Authors: Unger JB, Baezconde-Garbanati L, Soto C ART
Yr: 2005 Vol: 3 Nbr: Abs: Pg: 1-15

Family-and peer-related risk and protective factors for tobacco use among AmericanIndian adolescents in California
Periodical: Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Conference Index Medicus:
Authors: Unger JB, Soto C, Baezconde-Garbanati L ABS
Yr: 2005 Vol: Nbr: Abs: Pg: