New Research on Native Americans and Smoking Rates

March 19, 2020

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Prior research on smoking rates and race and ethnicity have shown that, compared to non-Hispanic whites, Native Americans have relatively high cigarette use. The issue is a complex one, however, as smoking rates are correlated with income and education. A new study by the Native American Research and Training Center in the Department of Community Medicine (University of Arizona) analyzed four years of data from the National Survey on Drug use and Health. They found that, after accounting for income and education levels, it is actually non-Hispanic whites that are more likely to use cigarettes daily and be nicotine dependent.

However, because Native Americans have the highest poverty rate of any racial/ethnic group, they also have a higher death rate from smoking than non-hispanic whites (414 per 100,000, compared to 264 per 100,000).

In a recent UA News article (Slaten, 3/9/20), study co-author Dr. Teshia Arambula Solomon said:  "Tobacco use and tobacco-related disease and deaths are intertwined with the poverty facing many Native Americans. A critical need exists to increase and improve Native American tobacco prevention and treatment programs, while also addressing poverty."