The tobacco prevention and control project focus on policy development, tobacco cessation and prevention by using culture as a prevention and education. Building and strengthening tribal capacity, developing culturally responsive/appropriate strategies and program opportunities, and providing education about the effective tobacco control measure. Are area of health promotion that is funded out of the Good health and Wellness in Indian Country (GHWIC) program. The GHWIC program is funded by CDC’s investment to improve tribal health. CDC reports that American Indian/Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of cigarette smoking compared to all other racial/ethnic groups in the United States commercial smoking rates remain higher than 50% while recent studies share that the overall smoking rates have dropped to 14%. Traditional tobacco has a cultural and spiritual importance to tribal people and in the Northwest region (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) it has been used in our tribal communities or traditional ceremonies or for medicinal purposes. The use of traditional tobacco various from tribe to tribe. The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board supports this work by providing trainings, technical assistance, and meeting facilitation to the NW tribes.
Training, technical assistance, and meeting examples:
For thousands of years Traditional Tobacco has been a respected plant of many Northwest tribes. Many of our tribal elders and leaders are committed to the protecting and preserving the value and teachings oftraditional tobacco.Tobacco has an important role within our Tribal communities’ way of life. Traditional tobacco was for ceremony, healing, dances, and in the sweat lodge. Many of ourNorthwest tribes have their own tribal stories of how tobacco served tribal people through prayer –while other tribes grow and harvest the plant today. The tobacco plant is sacred, and is used to this day for spiritual, ceremonial, and medicinal purposes. Unfortunately, we continue to have too many Native people who use commercial tobacco and experience a range of chronic health issues. Smoking is a huge risk factor, and we encourage our tribal clinics to provide smoking cessation to benefit our tribal member and help promote living a longer and healthier life. Through traditional teachings, health promotion and education, tribal leaders across the nation can provide leadership to focus on educating communities on the importance of traditional tobacco and discourage commercial tobacco use Promote campaigns, messaging that focuses on tobacco health education, prevention, policy design, development and implementation around smoke-free tribal campuses and facilities.
For More Information Click Here and view studies of secondhand smoke by the cdc
Photographs of tobacco (Yehnu) come from the Jeffries family (Yèsah/Occaneechi). This and other varieties have been grown by Yèsah families in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and Virginia since time immemorial. These leaves are traditionally pulled and tied into “handles” where they are cured over woodsmoke from pit fires.