Church-related correlates of tobacco use among Lumbee Indians in North Carolina.

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Spangler, J.G.; R.A. Bell, S. Knick, R. Michielutte, M.B. Dignan, and J.H. Summerson. “Church-related correlates of tobacco use among Lumbee Indians in North Carolina.” Ethnicity & Disease 8.1 (Winter 1998): 73-80.


This study responds to the higher rate of tobacco-related deaths among minorities in the United States and their lower access to tobacco cessation programs, especially in the rural South.  Researchers selected 400 Lumbee adults and administered to them a 41-item telephone survey which inquired about their use of smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, or cigarettes.  Questions also addressed involvement in tobacco-related agriculture, church membership and attendance, the church's beliefs about tobacco use, and importance of church activity to the community. 

Sixty-three percent were church members; eighty-two percent felt the church was very important in their community.  A significantly higher percentage of current smokers never attended church, compared to smokers who attended church regularly.  Smokeless tobacco use was related to older and less educated people but not to church attendance level.  Respondents who attended church weekly or more often were 73% less likely to be active smokers.  Some churches seem to be taking a stand against smoking but not against smokeless tobacco use.  Five limitations in the data collection methods are discussed.  The authors also discuss the need for sensitivity in church-related tobacco-cessation programs in Robeson County due to the county's strong dependence on tobacco income, the role of tobacco in Native American culture, and the fact that those who attend church infrequently or not at all would not be reached by such programs.

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