Background: Previous studies have documented a high prevalence of tobacco use among Native American adolescents. However, little is known about the smoking behavior of Native American adolescents who live in urban areas. This study used statewide data from California to examine the smoking behavior and related psychosocial risk factors among Native American adolescents living in urban and rural counties.
Methods: The Independent Evaluation of the California Tobacco Control Program conducted three population-based statewide surveys of 10th-grade California public school students in 1996, 1998, and 2000. Past-month smoking and psychosocial correlates were examined among 22,440 respondents, including 1060 Native Americans.
Results: Native Americans had a 32% excess risk of past-month smoking compared with other ethnic groups. Smoking prevalence did not differ between urban (27.7%) and rural (29.3%) Native Americans. Native Americans reported higher access to cigarettes and exposure to smoking peers than other groups. Those psychosocial variables explained some, but not all, of the excess risk of smoking among Native Americans.
Conclusions: Effective smoking prevention and cessation interventions are needed for Native American adolescents in urban and rural areas of California.