2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Balancing the Public Health Crisis of Commercial Tobacco Use in Idaho’s Native Tribal Communities with Cultural Mindfulness.

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Emily Wakild and Dr. Stephanie Witt


The tobacco plant has spiritual and sacred purposes in Native American populations. For the past 200 years, federal policy and industry advertisements targeting indigenous communities has led to a shift in traditional tobacco use to a significantly more harmful commercial tobacco use, and over half of Native Idaho tribal members report regular commercial tobacco use. What are potential methods to address commercial tobacco use in Idaho’s Native Tribes while respecting the sacred nature of the tobacco plant in indigenous culture? Various methods with commercial tobacco cessation across other US tribes will be analyzed with tobacco use and mortality rates both before and after implementation. Various methods including education, incentives, legislation, and regulation are likely to have varying levels of effectiveness. These results would demonstrate the most effective tobacco cessation programs amongst American Indians, while still considering the cultural significance of tobacco. Commercial tobacco cessation in Idaho’s tribal communities would be a large step in a positive direction for tribal public health.

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