What Are the Odds? Community Readiness for Smoke-Free Bingos in First Nation Communities

  • Peter James Hutchinson Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, British Columbia
  • Joan L. Bottorff University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, British Columbia
  • Natalie Chambers University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, British Columbia
  • Roberta Mowatt Community Development Leader, Canadian Cancer Society, Hazelton, British Columbia
  • Dennis Wardman First Nation Inuit Health – British Columbia Region, Health Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Debbie Sullivan Gitsegukla Health Programs & Service, Gitsegukla, British Columbia
  • Wanda Williams Gitsegukla Health Programs & Services, Gitsegukla, British Columbia
Keywords: Second-hand smoke, tobacco control, policy, public health, Aboriginal


Community members have identified second-hand smoke exposure among young women and children within First Nations communities as a concern. As part of a community-based research project, we analyzed experiences related to establishing smoke-free public spaces and the challenges related to smoking and bingo. The purpose of this study was to a) describe and compare community smoking at bingo in First Nations communities, and b) draw implications for assessing and supporting community readiness for comprehensive tobacco control policies (TCPs). Data were collected using individual interviews, group discussions, and observations in the community. The establishment of smoke-free public spaces in communities evolved out of concern by people traditionally responsible for the well-being of the community. Despite close proximity and similar socioeconomic contexts, readiness to extend these successes to bingos held in community halls was influenced by three main factors: a) economic drivers, b) the smoking majority, and c) grassroots support. Although models for assessing community readiness provide a useful starting point for understanding local TCP development and implementation in First Nations communities, other factors also need to be considered. Using a comprehensive approach to assessing  community readiness has the potential to increase success in extending TCPs and practices in First Nations communities in ways that are culturally relevant, address local conditions, and build on existing efforts.