New Zealand researcher launches international research centre focused on indigenous smoking

Dr. Marewa Glover, one of New Zealand’s foremost tobacco control experts, launched a new Centre of Research Excellence on Indigenous Sovereignty & Smoking today. The Centre has an international focus and will be partnering with indigenous organisations and researchers around the world to investigate rapidly reducing tobacco smoking among their people.

“Our aim is to identify indigenous knowledge and practices that can be facilitated to reduce the usually greater negative consequences of tobacco smoking experienced by indigenous peoples. The holistic worldview shared by many indigenous peoples could also assist the broader global problem of persistent smoking,” said Dr. Marewa Glover.

“With some 370 million people, or about five percent of the world’s population recognized as indigenous, and smoking prevalence disproportionately higher among the peoples we know, this is a critical area to focus on,” she said.

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“A further aim of the Centre is to assist with building the capacity of indigenous people to respond to and reduce the harmful consequences of tobacco smoking in ways that respect and preserve their culture. Making sure they have accurate information about new harm reduced alternatives to smoking is needed also because recent research showed that some indigenous peoples have lower levels of knowledge about electronic cigarettes,” Dr. Glover said.

Several distinct studies are planned in the first year. Dr. Glover will be leading a study on promoting smokefree pregnancies among Mori women continuing a theme she has pursued for over a decade. Maori women of child-bearing age still have the highest rates of smoking in New Zealand. Meanwhile, her team have begun mapping smoking rates of all indigenous people.

“Of course, a lot is known about the indigenous people of New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States and a recent paper reported that 67% of Greenland’s Inuit people smoked. But we have found that little is known about the smoking rates or tobacco use patterns of many of the other 85 indigenous peoples we are interested in.”

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A central commitment of the new Centre is that indigenous worldviews will underpin the research methods. The Centre aims to become an educational authority on indigenous smoking concerns.

SOURCE: Centre of Research Excellence on Indigenous Sovereignty & Smoking

/Public Release.