Learning Objectives: describe how to implement a successful faith-based culturally-sensitive tobacco control program, avoiding pitfalls.
Abstract: In spite of public health efforts in the United States, there remains unequal distribution of smoking and its health consequences. African American (AA) tend to choose cigarette brands with higher levels of tar and nicotine which may help explain the higher virulence or disproportionate rates of smoking-related death and disease. It has also been demonstrated that AA are not as successful at quitting. The problem is further exacerbated by a tobacco industry that targets African Americans with "culturally appealing" advertising campaigns that entice and reinforce their use of tobacco. There is a need for an effective model, which can be disseminated at the grassroots levels, to reduce tobacco use. In the African-American community, churches have a lot of “social capital” and have been instrumental in fighting against big tobacco companies (for example, the Marlboro Mild campaign). As a result, the African-American Churches or Tobacco (ACT) project was established in the metro-Atlanta area with the aim of building the infrastructure to support tobacco control. A community assessment was done and revealed a lack of knowledge regarding tobacco issues extending from the ministers to the youth. With the use of focus groups several culturally sensitive educational materials were developed and will be shared. In addition, the challenges and successes in uniting churches and targeting youth in the African-American community will be discussed. This model can be used to replicate or expand this program to include all churches in the United States.
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