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American Indain Quit Line

New! The Montana Tobacco Quit Line now offers an American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line with a dedicated line 1-855-372-0037 and web based enrollment American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line. The service connects callers with Native Coaches, offers 10 weeks free counseling, free Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and reduced cost cessation medications. The call line is dual-staffed 7 days a week 10:30AM to 5:30PM. Callers may experience a wait time and may need to leave a message to receive a call back from the trained coaches. Read more below. (Calling 1-800-Quit-Now and asking for the American Indian Commercial Tobacco Program will also connect clients to the dedicated quit line.)

American Indian Project

Addressing the needs of American Indian Tribal Members on and off Montana's Reservations in regards to Commercial Tobacco Addiction.

"The diseases caused by tobacco addiction remain the leading causes of death in the United States and in Montana ... Tobacco use impacts every system of the body causing many diseases such as heart disease, COPD and several types of cancer. Tobacco also complicates serious health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, mental illness and substance abuse." - Richard H. Opper, Director, Department of Public Health and Human Services (MTUPP Progress Report, July 2014-June 2016).

Commercial tobacco use hits every area of Native communities. Highest rates of cigarette use, high rate of smokeless tobacco use, high rate of use among youth.  Along with following the goals of MTUPP and CDC Best Practices, the American Indian Tobacco Prevention Specialists also educate local communities and members on the traditional intent and use of tobacco plants which helps to break the bonds with commercial tobacco companies and the high-cost of nicotine addiction. Understanding and participating in cultural activities, promoting native language development and hosting local events begin to pave the way to a life free from nicotine dependence. American Indian Tobacco Prevention Specialists Contact Information.

Montana's American Indian Tobacco Prevention Speciailists

American Indian Specific Resources:

Cessation and Recovery from Commercial Tobacco Addiction, and other materials provide tribal perspective to the burden of commercial tobacco in Native communities. Order online under QuitLine materials.

Cessation&Recovery from Commercial Tobacco Addiction - An American Indian and Tribal Perspective

"When I read the section about the contract with the plant and the cigarette smoker, I threw away my cigarettes that day. I (now) honor the plant the way it is meant to be and believe the power of the plant helped me quit my addiction.”



Montana's American Indians who use tobacco are specifically impacted by diabetes and lung cancer.

For more information please visit Montana Chronic Disease Diabetes and Cancer Control Programs.

The annual Youth Gathering of American Indians, Living in Two Worlds

Hosted by American Indian Tobacco Prevention Specialists is using an evidenced-based best practice for substance abuse prevention; the holistic approach to wellness is a traditional part of AI/AN belief systems, every community member is of value in empowering the community and the Youth Camp is a safe place to share, heal and plan for action. The youth gather for three days of learning, diversity, cultural exchange, community leadership, and fun. The youth follow much of the Best Practice Gathering of Native Americans (GONA) curriculum of belonging, mastery, interdependence and generosity, led by Tobacco Prevention Specialists and local educators. Participants learn the hosting tribe’s unique stories, prayers, and protocols. Native Games, swimming, nature hikes and crafts are also offered.

Students gain awareness and understanding of commercial tobacco, community dynamics, and self-empowerment. They leave with skills and resources to bring back to their reservation/urban community and become agents of change and future leaders. Each year up to 100 American Indian youth from across the state, ages ranging from 11-18 (dependent on year) come together for a three day camp-out at a revolving location. In this way each Reservation/Tribe/Urban Center has an opportunity to highlight their unique culture and geographic surroundings. Please watch an introductory video on the principles of GONA and the 2015 camp.

Annual camp locations:
2009 - Billings; 2010 – Missoula;  2011 – Fairmont Hot Spring; 2012 – Hayes, Fort Belknap;  2013 – Browning, Blackfeet; 2014 – Blue Bay, Confederated Salish and Kootenai; 2015 – Busby, Northern Cheyenne;  2016 – Flathead Lake, Confederated Salish and Kootenai; 2017 - Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Crow 

How Does CIAA Apply to Reservations in Montana?

The Montana Clean Indoor Air Act, §§50-40-101, et seq., MCA (CIAA or the “Act”), prohibits smoking in enclosed public places, subject to various exceptions.  The Act is enforced by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services or its designees, or local boards of health or board designees.  §50-40-108, MCA.   A person or entity that owns or operates a facility is guilty of a misdemeanor upon a third violation of the CIAA, and subject to various monetary penalties.

The application of a state law, like the Clean Indoor Air Act, within the boundaries of an Indian Reservation is a question of federal law.  State laws are not generally applicable to Indians on the Indian reservation of their enrollment, except when Congress has expressly intended that State law shall apply, or in certain exceptional circumstances.  See, e.g., Gobin v. Snohomish County, 304 F.3d 909 (9th Cir. 2002).   State laws generally apply to non-tribal member activities on non-tribal lands within an Indian reservation unless preempted by federal law.  See, e.g., White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136 (1980); Strate v. A-1 Contractors, 520 U.S. 438 (1997).


Under federal law, the CIAA applies on reservations as follows:

  • Public Places Owned by Tribal Governments or Tribal Members

The CIAA does not apply to public facilities owned and operated by tribal governments or tribal members within their reservation of enrollment.

  • Public Places Owned by Non-members

 The CIAA does apply to non-member owned public facilities operating on non-tribal lands within reservations.


The Washington State Attorney General’s Office has developed a legal opinion on the application of that state’s clean indoor air act.  This opinion is consistent with the guidelines provided above and contains helpful legal analysis.  The opinion is available at: Washington State Attorney General's Legal Opinion


 In addition, Section “e” of the Clean Indoor Air Act states,

A site that is being used in connection with the practice of cultural activities by American Indians that is in accordance with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, 42 U.S.C. 1996 and 1996a

Is Tobacco Tax-Free on Reservations?

All tribes, except the Confederation of Salish Kootenai people, have a “Revenue Sharing Agreement” with the State of Montana, meaning that the price of a pack of cigarettes is the same on and off reservation. Cigarette packs are taxed at $1.70 and tax is 50% Over the Price (OTP) of all other tobacco products.

Revenue Sharing with the tribes began in the 1990’s. In 2011 Northern Cheyenne was the last tribe to negotiate the agreement. The Confederation of Salish Kootenai people is unable to go this route due to their own Governing by-laws; instead there is a Department of Revenue Quota System which minimizes the quantity of tobacco products sold on location.

Revenue Sharing allows store owners to tax all tobacco products and not distinguish between tribal and non-tribal sales.  The state collects the tax from all products. The state and tribe have agreed on a formula for sales to members living on their own reservation. The state then reimburses the tribes for this dollar amount of taxes being collected from tribal members.

This is done because a state cannot tax a tribal member who is an enrolled member, living on their reservation. For example, income earned by a tribal member working and living on their reservation cannot be taxed. However, a tribal member working and living off their Reservation can be taxed. Each tribe then has jurisdiction over the returned funds collected from members paying tobacco taxes. It is up to the tribe to use monies according to their own governing practices and policies.

In the case of the Confederation of Salish Kootenai people, the state uses a similar formula to estimate how many cigarettes will be on the reservation.  The Confederated Salish Kootenai Government designated six tobacco retailers on the reservation and the Quota of un-taxed cigarettes for each store.  Owners of stores are to card for each sale of un-taxed products to their members. Each store has a specific amount of cigarettes to sell without taxes throughout the year. All other tobacco retail stores on the Reservation sell tobacco products with the state tax included.

What is the Relationship of Tobacco to American Indian Tribes?

Many American Indian tribal nations and Indian people use tobacco for ceremonial purposes. Not all tribes may use tobacco in the same way but in general it is used for ceremony, prayers and healing.  Some tribal nations may be more open to how they use tobacco for ceremonial purposes and other tribal nations may have cultural protocols regarding tobacco use that aren’t shared with the general public.

"A basic understanding from which we can start our dialogue is that tobacco can both give life and take life. It is a very powerful, potent, and magical being whose physical properties can cause great harm when abused. The flip side is that tobacco can also provide great healing when not abused. Of all the contributions American Indians have given the world, tobacco is probably the best known. However, when most people think of tobacco today, they don’t consider the depths of its story, or the unique role this powerful plant has had throughout history. Depending on intent of use, a great many American Indian people have become habituated to the nicotine contained in this plant. This should be of great concern to us all, because we are connected to each other; what affects one, affects us all."
(Tharon P. Weigell Sr. (Chumash))

Huran Indian myth has it that in ancient times, when the land was barren and the people were starving, the Great Spirit sent forth a woman to save humanity. As she travelled over the world, everywhere her right hand touched the soil, there grew potatoes. And everywhere her left hand touched the soil, there grew corn. And when the world was rich and fertile, she sat down and rested. When she arose, there grew tobacco...

Commercial and Traditional Tobacco Fact Sheet

What Can You Do to Help?

  • Teach American Indian children about how commercial tobacco manufacturers exploit American Indian tradition and images.
  • Keep your home commercial tobacco-free.
  • Support smokefree businesses.
  • Encourage your tribal council to pass a resolution to make your reservation free from commercial tobacco.
  • Help American Indian youth participate in youth activities, such as the traditional Gathering of Native Americans (GONA), where they will learn about the danger of using commercial tobacco.
  • Encourage high prices for commercial tobacco products. Raising commercial tobacco taxes stop kids from using commercial tobacco and help people who are addicted to quit.
  • If you or a loved one smokes or uses smokeless tobacco, call the Montana Tobacco Quit Line at (800) QUIT-NOW for free help or visit www.QuitNowMontana.com. Or call the dedicated American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line (855) 372-0037 or visit MTAmericanIndianQuitLine.com.
  • Contact your local tribal commercial tobacco use prevention specialist for more information.

What is the American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line?

The Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) with their partner National Jewish Health and input from local American Indian Tobacco Prevention programs and various Tribal public health officials across six states, has developed a new approach to help reduce commercial tobacco use among American Indians.

Nationally, American Indians are more likely to use commercial tobacco and have more difficulty quitting than those in other racial and ethnic groups. Culturally specific cessation resources are vital for tribal communities, which respect cultural traditions around tobacco, ways of communicating, and barriers to smoking cessation. Despite being relatively easy-to-access cessation resources, quitlines have been known for having low rates of use by American Indians and Alaska Natives. With strong oral traditions, tribal communities often value face-to-face communication over telephone communication.  Add to that long histories of mistreatment by and mistrust of governmental agencies – and it’s no surprise that there has been reluctance to participate in telephone surveys and quitlines.

The American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line is designed to help tend to these issues and provide quality cessation resources to tribal populations in their service areas. The Program connects American Indian quitline callers with Native coaches, who provide a culturally sensitive coaching protocol. Coaches work with callers to build increased rapport by reducing initial intake questions, increasing length of coaching calls and focusing intervention on the journey rather than a specific quit date. For the American Indian Program, the goal is reduced use of commercial tobacco products rather than complete tobacco cessation.

The service offers 10 weeks free counseling, free Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and reduced cost cessation medications. The call line is dual-staffed 7 days a week 10:30AM to 5:30PM. Callers may experience wait time and may need to leave a message to receive a call back from the trained coaches.

To access the American Indian Quit Line please call 1-855-372-0037 or register online and leave a call-back number at American Indian QuitLine.

The terms Native American and American Indian are used interchangeably.  We use the term American Indian because it is consistent with the OMB race categories.  A 1995 Census Bureau Survey of preferences for racial and ethnic terminology (there is no more recent survey) indicated that 49% of native people preferred being called American Indian, 37% preferred Native American, 3.6% preferred "some other term," and 5% had no preference.  While the issue is not divisive, American Indians generally prefer is to be identified as members of their specific tribe.