For many people, New Year’s Day is a time for a fresh start. Many folks make health minded New Year’s Resolutions, including beginning a new workout routine, kicking off a health-conscious diet, or starting a journey to a smoke-free lifestyle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, 20.9% of American Indians and Alaska Natives smoked cigarettes. However also according to the CDC, in 2015, nearly 7 in 10 adult cigarette smokers wanted to quit smoking, and in 2018 more than half of adult cigarette smokers had made a quit attempt in the past year.
Traditional tobacco is different from commercial tobacco. Commercial tobacco products like cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, and chew are manufactured and sold by the tobacco industry. Commercial tobacco products are highly addictive and contain cancer-causing chemicals and additives. Traditional tobacco is natural, not inhaled or addictive, and has no additives. Traditional tobacco is a completely different natural blend that is used exclusively by many Native American tribes for ceremony and prayer.
Keeping tobacco sacred, and respecting its ceremonial use is one way to begin the journey to live a smoke-free lifestyle.
The Truth Initiative has developed 10 Steps to Successfully Make a Plan to Quit Smoking: https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/quitting-smoking-vaping/10-steps-successfully-make-plan-quit-smoking
Some tips that are outlined include:
- Set a quit date, and be strategic
- Identify triggers and track cigarettes
- Beat your triggers
- Get smart about your smoking addiction
- Choose a quit smoking aid with your doctor (such as gum, patch, etc)
- Tell someone, anyone
- Out with the old and in with the new
- Get ready, and get set with your quit aids along with your support group
- Go! Focus on getting through one day at a time
- If you need to, pick yourself back up
Other resources include the BecomeAnEX.org online community. There are resources and a network of people ready to help your quit smoking.
The American Indian Commercial Tobacco Program is a great resource aimed to help Native Americans begin their journey to quit smoking while also preserving traditions. Online help is available at aiquitline.com, or by calling 1-855-5AI-QUIT (1-855-524-7848).
Smokefree.gov is also a great resource which has programs aimed specifically for veterans, women, teens, and elders over 60.
Finally, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) is the national phone number that will dial you into your state’s resources and support to quit smoking. The quitSTART app is also a free smartphone app that help you quit smoking with tailored tips and inspiration.
The National Native Network is jointly funded by the Office on Smoking and Health and Division of Cancer Prevention and Control under Cooperative Agreement #NU58DP005493-01. Through Networking2Save – CDC’s National Network Approach to Preventing and Controlling Tobacco-related Cancers in Special Populations Program – The CDC funds eight national networks to support prevention of commercial tobacco use and prevention of cancer in populations experiencing tobacco- and cancer-related health disparities.
The Network is administered by the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan and is directed by a board composed of three partner tribal organizations: California Rural Indian Health Board, Great Plains Tribal Leader’s Health Board, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Burden of Cigarette Use in the U.S. – American Indians/Alaska Natives (Non-Hispanic):
Smoking & Tobacco Use: Fast Facts – Many Adult Cigarette Smokers Want to Quit Smoking: