Smoking cessation and prevention: an urgent public health priority for American Indians in the Northern Plains.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence of cigarette smoking and smoking cessation among American Indians living on or near Montana's seven reservations to those of non-Indians living in the same geographic region. METHODS: Data for Montana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) respondents (n = 1,722) were compared to data from a BRFSS survey of American Indians living on or near Montana's seven reservations in 1999 (n = 1,000). Respondents were asked about smoking and smoking cessation as well as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and selected risk factors. Quit ratios were calculated for both groups. RESULTS: American Indians were more likely to report current smoking (38%) than non-Indians (19%; p < 0.001). Thirty-seven percent of Indian respondents with CVD risk factors reported current smoking, compared with 17% of non- Indians with CVD risk factors. However, there was no significant difference in reported smoking rates between Indians (21%) and non-Indians (27%) with a history of CVD. Indian smokers were more likely to report quitting for one or more days in the past year (67%), compared with non-Indians (43%). Quit ratios were significantly lower among Indians (43%) than among non-Indians (65%). CONCLUSIONS: High smoking rates in Indians, particularly among those with other CVD risk factors, demonstrate an urgent need for culturally sensitive smoking cessation interventions among Northern Plains Indians and highlight the need for the Surgeon General's focus on smoking in minority populations.