Effects of culturally tailored smoking prevention and cessation messages on urban American Indian youth

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American Indians (AI) face significant disparities in smoking-related diseases. In addition, smoking prevalence increases exponentially between ages 11 and 18. Smoking prevention and cessation efforts aimed at AI youth therefore are important. In order to strengthen understanding of evidence-based message strategies for smoking prevention and cessation among AI youth. The objective of this study was to test whether a message that was tailored to AI cultural values associated with the sacredness of traditional tobacco can change variables that behavioral theories have identified as predictors of smoking (i.e., instrumental and experiential attitudes, injunctive and descriptive norms, perceived capacity and autonomy, and intention with respect to smoking). We conducted a randomized field experiment among 300 never-smoking and ever-smoking urban AI youth in Minneapolis-Saint Paul between May 18 and July 27, 2019. We used a 3 (message condition: cultural benefits of not smoking cigarettes, health benefits of not smoking cigarettes, comparison message about benefits of healthy eating) × 2 (smoking status: ever-smoked, never-smoked) between-subjects design. Multivariate analysis of variance showed that for ever-smokers, the cultural consequences of smoking message significantly lowered instrumental attitude (partial eta2 = 0.029), experiential attitude (partial eta2 = 0.041), perceived capacity (partial eta2 = 0.051), and smoking intention (partial eta2 = 0.035) compared to the healthy eating comparison message and the health consequences of smoking message. This was not observed among never-smokers, who already had very negative smoking perceptions. We conclude that messages that tailor to AI culture may be effective tools for discouraging smoking among AI youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101540
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Clearway Minnesota (RC-2017-0009). K.R. and M.Y. were co-principal investigators to ensure the cultural and scientific integrity of the project. Clearway Minnesota was not involved in the design, execution, analysis, and reporting of this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • American Indian youth
  • Cultural tailoring
  • Health disparities
  • Smoking cessation
  • Smoking prevention


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