Native American and Alaskan Native youth have the highest life smoking rate of any other American racial group, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey referenced by the Department of Health and Human Services. But a recent study by the University of Missouri found that those in charge of public health should implement plans that include refusal skills to aid these youth to combat this trend.
ManSoo Yu, assistant professor of the School of Social Work at the university says, "Smoking and quitting behaviors are heavily influenced by factors in the immediate environment, including family, peers and school.” Yu says that native peoples have more opportunities to smoke, “because tobacco use is common at traditional ceremonies and events related to their cultures. It is difficult for these youths to refuse tobacco products from family members and friends who smoke or view refusal as disrespect."
In the report, Yu states there is a negative correlation between Alaskan Native and Native American youth smoking rates and their level of refusal skills. "Tobacco control strategies should include group-based programs that provide skills and training for responding to family members' and friends' smoking, (considering that) the ability to refuse smoking is related to non-smoking in youths."