The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3007.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 9:15 AM

Abstract #63164

Marketing American Indian lifestyles with tobacco products

Lawrence Shorty, BA and Lawrence Shorty, BA. NC American Indian Tobacco Addiction Prevention and Cessation Initiative, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, CB 7426, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7426, 919-966-8038,

Abstract: Tobacco marketers historically have utilized stereotyped Indian images and notions of “Indian culture” to promote tobacco products that capitalized on Native lifestyles. This type of product promotion persists to this day with non-American Indian owned tobacco manufacturers and American Indian owned manufacturers and marketers utilizing symbols associated with this population such as “Indian head figures”, religious freedom symbols related to the Native American Church and Plains Indian religions, tribal specific tribal legends, and pro-tribal, pro-Indian sovereignty messages to sell their products and capitalize on Native lifestyles.

Methods: This research was conducted by visiting tobacco smoke shops located in urban, rural, and Indian tribal areas in the US and Europe and collecting tobacco promotional material and tobacco products and by using the internet to find tobacco marketers that used Indian symbols. The objective was to see how American Indian symbols are used to promote tobacco products in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Findings: Tobacco marketers utilize American Indian cultural symbols and symbolic language to promote their products that emphasize a pro-Indian, idealized notion of American Indian identity. The quality of promotion using Indian symbols was greater by American Indian tobacco marketers. A novel finding was that tobacco marketers and American Indians tobacco prevention programs use similar techniques to promote their initiatives.

Conclusion: American Indian tobacco prevention programs may need to revisit how they frame American Indian tobacco use as a health promotional issue.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Advocacy, American Indians

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: Fellowship recipient from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Developing Leadership in Reducing Substance Abuse Fellowship

Influence of Lifestyle on Native Communities

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA