A comparison of tobacco use among Saskatchewan First Nations, Métis, and non-Aboriginal youth: Factors associated with youth tobacco use
Sorgi, Shannen Lyn
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Tobacco use among youth is a serious public health concern because the age of initiation affects one's subsequent health status. Mounting evidence shows that tobacco use among Aboriginal youth is higher than in the general population; however, differences in prevalence rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth have yet to be explained. The purpose of this project was to describe and compare the tobacco use behaviours of First Nations, Métis, and non-Aboriginal youth in the Saskatchewan Youth Attitudes Survey (SYAS). This project involved a sub-analysis of data from 2605 Saskatchewan youth who took part in the 1996 Saskatchewan Youth Attitudes Survey. The purpose of the SYAS was to identify high-risk behaviours, and included two questions on tobacco use. Based on self-reported ethnicity, these youth were grouped into three Aboriginal status categories: non-Aboriginal, First Nations, and Métis. Chi-square tests and ANOVA were used to compare First Nations, Métis, and non-Aboriginal youth tobacco use on the basis of demographic, social, psychological, behavioural, and spiritual variables. Logistic regression was used to develop three models of the factors associated with First Nations, Métis, and non-Aboriginal youth tobacco use; these models were compared and contrasted. Tobacco use significantly differed between the Aboriginal status groups. First Nations youth were more likely to use cigarettes/cigars (79.3%) and chewing tobacco (30.5%), than Métis youth (78.3% and 25.0%, respectively), followed by non-Aboriginal (60.1% and 25.3%, respectively). Sexual intercourse, parental discipline, school attachment, preoccupation with death, drug use, gang activity, alcohol use, and family cohesiveness, were significant factors associated with non-Aboriginal tobacco use, while age, personal control, alcohol use, preoccupation with death, and drug use were significantly associated with First Nations youth. Only drug use, alcohol use, school attachment and gang activity were significantly associated with Métis youth tobacco use. The results of this study confirm the importance of ethnicity as a factor associated with tobacco use. Non-Aboriginal, First Nations, and Métis youth share certain factors associated with tobacco use; however, a number of differences also exist between these groups. These results may inform health professionals and may guide the development of tobacco reduction programs and interventions that are sensitive to ethnic differences.