A dearth of information exists about American Indians' views about smoking and cessation. We present results from six focus groups conducted among current and former smokers from American Indian communities in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, as part of a larger qualitative study. Findings indicate that, although smoking is common and acceptable among this population, many would like to quit. The majority of focus group participants attempted cessation without the aid of counseling and pharmacotherapy. Many held negative attitudes toward pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation, including worries about side effects, skepticism about effectiveness, and dislike of medications in general. Negative attitudes were grounded partly in a lack of trust in conventional medicine and, for some, were related to historic and continuing racism. Participants also reported a lack of information about tobacco dependence treatment from health care providers, including information about the functional benefits of such treatment. Nonetheless, participants thought smokers might try pharmacotherapy if it was made more accessible in their community and if community members could offer word-of-mouth testimonials regarding its effectiveness. Results point to the need for community- and peer-based smoking cessation treatment in the American Indian community, including accurate information from trusted sources.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health