The Goal

All Alaskans become tobacco free.

Objective: To reduce disparities in tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

There is great disparity in tobacco use among diverse Alaskan populations. For instance, Alaska Natives in general, use tobacco products at a much higher rate than Alaska’s population as a whole. Those living in rural areas of the state have a 36% smoking rate, well above the national rate of 20%, and double the smoking rate in urban areas like Anchorage. Men also smoke at a much higher rate than women. Tobacco use rates are also dramatically higher among low income populations in the state. These are just a few examples of populations at higher risk for tobacco use and tobacco-related health complications.

Current Focus

Promote culturally appropriate prevention and cessation protocols to increase the cultural competence of tobacco programs.

Why Are We Doing This?

Tobacco use is extremely harmful to human health. It is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States. And is directly responsible for approximately 30 percent of all cancer deaths, 21 percent of all coronary heart disease deaths, and 18 percent of all stroke deaths. The burden of tobacco is not equal. Data show that specific groups bear a greater impact from tobacco use.

Race, SES, Gender, Age

Alaskan Adult Tobacco Use Disparities: Race, Socio-economic Standing, Gender and Age

  • Smoking continues at an elevated rate among Alaska Native adults.
  • Non-native adults with low educational attainment and income smoke at higher rates.
  • Young adults 18-29 smoke at a higher rate.
  • The number of Alaska men who smoke and use smokeless tobacco is on the rise — also likely attributable to industry marketing tactics.
Race in Youth

Alaskan Youth Tobacco Use Disparities: Race

  • Alaska Native high school students who smoke fell significantly from 62% in 1995 to 23% in 2009.
  • In 2003, Alaska Native students were almost four times more likely to smoke than white students.
  • In 2010, a disparity still exists, with Alaska Native students still twice as likely to smoke as their non-Native peers.
Gender in Youth

Alaskan Youth Tobacco Use Disparities: Gender

  • Alaskan males use tobacco significantly more than females.
  • In Alaskan youth, there is a huge disparity between Alaska Native youth and their non-Native peers, a difference of 8% in boys and 13% in girls.

What We’re Doing


One Alaska Quiltline campaign targets Alaska's LGBT community, who smoke at a rate double that of other Alaskans.

"We smoke twice as much as straight people."


One Alaska Quitline campaign targets Hispanic Alaskans.


Like father, like son.

Children living with parents who smoke are more likely to think that smoking is OK and they are more likely to become smokers themselves. Your children admire you.


Do it for them. Do it for you.

“Tobacco Is Not Our Tradition” Alaska Native Heritage Television Ad