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Vol. 71, No. 6
ISSN: 1488-2159
June 2005


Tobacco Use among Young North American Aboriginal Athletes


• Carol-Ann P. Yakiwchuk, Dip DH •
• Hans Stasiuk, BSc, DMD •
• William Wiltshire, BChD, MDent, MChD, DSc(Odont) •
• Douglas J. Brothwell, DMD, BEd, DDPH, MSc •

A b s t r a c t

Tobacco use remains a major cause of preventable illness and death in North America. Although reported smoking rates have decreased, they remain high among the young and among Aboriginal people.

As part of an oral health promotion project, a convenience sample of 163 Aboriginal athletes participating in the 2002 North American Indigenous Games completed a self-administered questionnaire addressing tobacco use and knowledge of tobacco effects. Mean age of athletes was 19.6 years (SD 7.4); most were male and Canadian citizens. Only 22 participants reported current smoking; past use of tobacco was more common, with 58 reporting a history of smoking.

Although age was not associated with current smoking, older athletes were significantly more likely (p ≤ 0.05) to have smoked. Twenty-three athletes reported ever using smokeless tobacco, with 9 reporting current daily use. Athletes were knowledgeable about tobacco effects on oral health.

This study shows substantially lower tobacco use among this group of young Aboriginal athletes than the North American average. These findings suggest that participation in organized sports may be a protective factor against tobacco use in a population known to have high smoking rates.


MeSH Key Words: adolescent behavior/psychology; Indians, North American; smoking/prevention & control; sports
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