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Health Care Women Int. 1999 Sep-Oct;20(5):455-69.

Characteristics of American Indian women cigarette smokers: prevalence and cessation status.

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  • 1Center for American Indian Research and Education, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley 94704, USA.


A high rate of cigarette smoking is documented among the American Indian population in California, but data on Indian women smokers have not been widely studied. This paper reports on a survey conducted in a smoking cessation project implemented and evaluated as part of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) cooperative agreement. Characteristics of Indian women smokers are presented and cessation status is examined. The overall goal of the project was to increase long-term smoking cessation among American Indian populations through a reproducible clinic-based smoking cessation program. To ascertain smoking prevalence and tobacco use patterns, a self-administered survey was completed by 1,369 adult male and female American Indian health clinic users in Northern California. Study results reported several important characteristics of Indian women smokers. Single and divorced participants had a higher smoking rate (40.4% and 42%) than married participants (34.4%); 54.5% of unemployed women smoked; and level of education was strongly associated with smoking status (p = .011). Almost 80% (79.9%) of women former smokers quit using the "cold turkey" method. Fewer than 50% of Indian women smokers reported willingness to quit at the following smoking cessation stages: "immediately" or "ready" (12.4%), "in one month" (10.5%), and "in six months" (25.2%). This points to a need for effective tobacco cessation interventions for American Indians, which will take into consideration Indian women smokers' demographic characteristics, lenient attitudes toward smoking, and smoking behaviors.

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