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Indigenous Smoking Behaviors in Olmsted County, Minnesota

A Longitudinal Population-Based Study


      To describe smoking behaviors and pharmaceutical cessation aid uptake in a population-based Indigenous cohort compared with an age- and sex-matched non-Indigenous cohort.

      Patients and Methods

      Using the health record–linkage system of the Rochester Epidemiology Project (January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2019), smoking data of Indigenous residents of Olmsted County in Minnesota were abstracted to define the smoking prevalence, incidence, cessation, relapse after cessation, and pharmaceutical smoking cessation aid uptake compared with a matched non-Indigenous cohort. Prevalence was analyzed with a modified Poisson regression; cessation and relapse were evaluated with generalized estimating equations. Incidence was evaluated with a Cox proportional hazards model.


      Smoking prevalence was higher in the Indigenous cohort (39.0% to 47.0%; n=898) than the matched cohort (25.6% to 30.3%; n=1780). Pharmaceutical uptake was higher among the Indigenous cohort (35.8% of n=584 ever smokers vs 16.3% of n=778 ever smokers; P<.001). Smoking cessation events occurred more frequently in the Indigenous cohort (relative risk, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.13; P<.001). Indigenous former smokers were more likely to resume smoking (relative risk, 3.03; 95% CI, 2.93 to 3.14; P<.001) compared with the matched cohort. These findings were independent of socioeconomic status, age, and sex.


      Smoking in this Indigenous cohort was more prevalent compared with a sex- and age-matched non-Indigenous cohort despite more smoking cessation events and higher use of smoking cessation aids in the Indigenous cohort. The relapse rate after achieving cessation in the Indigenous cohort was more than three times higher than the non-Indigenous cohort. This finding has not been previously described and represents a potential target for relapse prevention efforts in US Indigenous populations.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      NRT (nicotine replacement therapy), REP (Rochester Epidemiology Project), SES (socioeconomic status)
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