Aboriginal Teen Smoking Prevalence “High”
According to the researches, smoking among aboriginal teenagers is twice as common as among teenagers in the rest of population.
Aboriginal population in Canada smoke cigarettes, use alcohol and drugs significantly more than non-aboriginal teenagers. Therefore, in accordance the study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal these youth have more chances to develop heart diseases.
“Most aboriginal people in Canada have low income, but this does not influence on the use of tobacco products”, said Tara Elton-Marshall of the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo.
Researchers analyzed smoking habits, use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and second-hand smoke exposure in 2,620 off-reserve aboriginal teenagers and 26,223 non-aboriginal youth.
The study revealed that 24.9 % of aboriginal respondents are smokers, 2.6 % have been smokers and 72.4 % were non-smokers.
In reference to non-aboriginal teenagers, 10.4 % were smoking at that time, 1.5 % were former smokers and 88 % were non-smokers.
The researches reported that most of the aboriginal youth, who is smoking, are women. It is shown in the study that they had tried to stop smoking at least one time. This means that aboriginal teenagers are interested in quitting, but they do not succeed in it. Some additional support to quit smoking is required in such case.
Elton-Marshall underlined that the high prevalence of smoking and use of alcohol and drugs among aboriginal teenagers living off-reserve shows the need for appropriate smoking cessation and substance prevention programs.
Aboriginal population use tobacco for ceremonial rites and that is why it is necessary not to use the same smoking cessation methods for non-Aboriginal teenagers.
According to this study, aboriginal teenagers are the fast growing group of the Canadian population.
Aboriginals are at the highest risks to develop cancer or heart disease during smoking, Elton-Marshall noted.
Aboriginal teenagers more than non-aboriginal are exposed to second-hand smoke at home (37.3 % versus 19.7 %) and in cars (51 % versus 30.3 %), the researchers revealed.
Given the findings, Elton-Marshall suggested that governments focus on funding programs to prevent use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use together.
88.5 % of aboriginal and 84.2 % of non-aboriginal teenagers said that they have used alcohol. Aboriginal youth who had tried alcohol were more likely to engage in binge drinking (91.9 % compared to 85.2 % of non-aboriginals).
Aboriginal youth as well declared that they used marijuana (62.0 %) and other illicit drugs (34.8 %) compared to non-aboriginal youth (41.0 % and 20.6 %, respectively).
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