Eliminating Tobacco-Related Disparities Among Pacific Islanders Through Leadership and Capacity Building: Promising Practices and Lessons Learned

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Abstract

Tobacco remains a major risk factor for premature death and ill health among Pacific Islanders, and tobacco-related disparities persist. Eliminating these disparities requires a comprehensive approach to transform community norms about tobacco use through policy change, as contained in the World Health Organization international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Three of the six U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands—the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands—are Parties to the Framework; the remaining three territories—American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam—are excluded from the treaty by virtue of U.S. nonratification. Capacity building and leadership development are essential in achieving policy change and health equity within Pacific Islander communities. We describe promising practices from American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, and Palau and highlight some of the key lessons learned in supporting and sustaining the reduction in tobacco use among Pacific Islanders as the first step toward eliminating tobacco-related disparities in these populations.

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