The purpose of the NAN Smoking Cessation & Prevention Community Awareness Initiative is to address the disproportionately high rates of smoking among NAN communities, and also encourage youth to avoid smoking. This will be achieved through creating awareness by providing training and resources to the First Nations Communities that are culturally appropriate, easily assessable and NAN specific. Funding made available from Health Canada – Federal Tobacco Control Strategy
In September 2006, Dr. Lilian Yuan prepared a report “Nishnawbe Aski Nation Community and Health Profile” for NAN as part of NAN’s three-year strategic health plan. Out of NAN’s 49 member First Nations, 30 are remote and are dependent on some form of air transportation for access to markets, about 35-40% of NAN’s population is under 15 years of age and less than 10% are over 65 years. Unemployment rates are over 30% in many of NAN’s communities, while the median income in many communities hovers near the low income cut off (Yuan, 2006). The “2005 First Nations Student Drug Use Survey” reported that approximately 51% of First Nations youth aged 13-19 years smoked cigarettes within the past year as compared with 20% of non-First Nations youth of the same age.
The 2003 Ontario First Nations Regional Health Survey reported that smoking was 2.5 times more common among First Nations adults than non-First Nations adults. The leading causes of death among First Nations are circulatory disease, injury and poisoning, and cancer. Dr. Yuan’s report states that First Nation’s cancer rates are increasing overtime, and that lung and colorectal cancer rates among First Nations is fast approaching the Ontario rates. Equally concerning, the remoteness of NAN communities often makes screening for cancer difficult, resulting in community members having cancer detected at advanced stages. This highlights the need for preventative measures such as education that attempt to prevent youth from taking up smoking, as well as initiative aimed at smoking cessation in adolescents and adults.
- To increase the number of NAN community members becoming aware of smoking cessation and prevention as its primary focus and prevention of cancer in NAN communities as its primary goal;
- To improve awareness of the different strategies needed to support healthier lifestyles changes and increase smoking cessation and prevention within NAN communities;
- To provide a NAN Smoking Cessation and Prevention Community Awareness initiative that promotes holistic, healthier living;
- To evaluate the smoking cessation education project by each individual taking part;
- To create an NAN-specific Tobacco Control Strategy to support policy development, best practices, research, training, education and community action.
All members of NAN communities will be targeted by this initiative. Those who are looking to quit smoking will be the primary focus of the smoking cessation, while non-smokers will be the focus of the prevention side of the initiative. The development of a NAN-wide Tobacco Control Strategy will focus on the well-being of all NAN members.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation with the help of a grant from Pfizer Canada has developed the “Get Unhooked” Stop Smoking pamphlet which is being distributed to all the NAN Communities.
Download Stop Smoking Pamphlet:
Nishnawbe Aski Nation has also developed a Smoking and Diabetes Pamphlet for the First Nations Communities. The resource was developed with the funding contribution from Northern Diabetes Health Network. The pamphlets are available in English, Cree and Ojicree.