Tobacco-Control Efforts Target American Indians and Alaska Natives

Enhancing minority organizations in tobacco control

Between 2002 and 2004, a project team at the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, Portland, Ore., researched tobacco-control issues among tribal communities and worked to encourage youth to become more involved in tobacco prevention efforts.

This project was part of an effort by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to strengthen minority organizations in their efforts to combat alcohol and tobacco use in their communities.

Key Results

  • Project staff focused their efforts on mobilizing tribal community members to become more involved in tobacco-control issues. They:

    • Hosted two youth leadership conferences that trained 19 youths and 11 mentors in tobacco advocacy. Following the training, 10 youth-mentor teams were awarded mini-grants of $1,000. The teams partnered with local health departments, schools, recreation programs and other businesses to develop tribe-appropriate tobacco-control activities and messages aimed at youth.
    • Conducted reviews of the research literature to assess:
      • The impact of tobacco industry marketing efforts targeting the American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
      • The economic impact of Native-owned tobacco stores on American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.
    • Assessed distance-learning programs to support training and assistance on tobacco-control issues. The project team found that most tribes have the technology required to make distance learning possible, but few members actively use this equipment.