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Health Information for the Public

Enjoy Living Smoke Free. Take the Path to Heart Healthy Living

Your Choice for Change - Honoring the Gift of Heart Health for American Indians

Section Seven - Enjoy Living Smoke Free. Take the Path to Heart Healthy Living.

For thousands of years, traditional tobacco has had a sacred purpose for many American Indian tribes. It is used for prayer, to show respect, to heal, and to give spiritual protection. Tobacco was never meant to be abused. Sacred use of tobacco does not include the use of commercial tobacco products.

In this section we will be talking about commercial tobacco abuse. Commercial tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco. This section focuses on cigarette smoking, because it is the most common way people use tobacco.

What Are the Harmful Effects of Cigarette Smoking?

  • Cigarettes contain more than 4,000 chemicals, and many of them are poisonous.

  • More than one out of every three American Indian and Alaska Native men and women smokes (about 34.1 percent). About one out of every two American Indian and Alaska Native women (44.3 percent) of reproductive age (18 to 44 years) smokes.

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Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NIH Publication No. 08-6340
June 2008

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