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African American church role in tobacco norm change

Institution: Health Education Council
Investigator(s): Ayanna Kiburi, MPH
Award Cycle: 2005 (Cycle 14) Grant #: 14IT-0188 Award: $115,098
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: Inno Dev & Exp Awards (IDEAS)

Initial Award Abstract
Tobacco-related diseases cause approximately 45,000 deaths each year among African Americans nationwide. Working with African American churches provides a culturally appropriate and spiritually based approach to tobacco control. There is some research regarding church-based smoking cessation programs, but no descriptive data on the role of the African American Christian church in promoting tobacco-free norm change within the church and greater community.

This Innovative, Developmental and Exploratory Award (IDEA) study builds upon a ten-year relationship between two California-based members of the National African American Tobacco Education Network (NAATEN) who have created a policy guide specifically for churches called Tobacco Prevention in the African American Church. This guide is based upon extensive formative research with African American pastors in California as well as across the nation, and due to wide distribution has recently been revised and re-released.

This pilot project has three aims: 1) To determine the existence and nature of any written tobacco-free policy statements for church members, on church facilities and church sponsored events; 2) To determine the number of congregation members that are smokers; 3) To determine the number of congregation members who are motivated to quit. A representative sample of Baptist, Pentecostal and Methodist church members in Sacramento, California will be surveyed to address these aims.

The hypothesis of the project is: African American churches that have written policy and promote a tobacco-free lifestyle for its’ members and the greater community are more likely to have members motivated to quit smoking. An investigation of this hypothesis will allow the research team to determine the influence of church-based tobacco policy on cessation readiness among its’ members. This information will lay the foundation for a full statewide CARA to increase the number of African American churches that have tobacco-control policies in order to decrease smoking prevalence among their communities.