Breathing clean air is sa’áh naagháí bik’eh hózhóó (SNBH): A culturally centred approach to understanding commercial smoke-free policy among the diné (Navajo people)

Carmenlita Chief, Samantha Sabo, Hershel Clark, Patricia Nez Henderson, Alfred Yazzie, Jacqueline Nahee, Scott Leischow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Introduction Indigenous worldviews and research approaches are fundamental to make meaning of complex health issues and increase the likelihood of identifying existing cultural protective factors that have contributed to the resilience and survival of Indigenous people worldwide. Objective We describe the process for applying the Diné (Navajo) paradigm of Sa’áh Naagháí Bik’eh Hózhóó (SNBH), a belief system that guides harmonious living, and demonstrate how the application of SNBH enhances understanding of Navajo principles for well-being. Specifically, we juxtapose this analysis with a conventional qualitative analysis to illuminate and interpret Diné perspectives on the health and economic impact of commercial secondhand smoke and smoke-free policy. Methods Focus groups were conducted throughout Navajo Nation to assess the appeal and impact of several evidence-based messages regarding the health and economic impact of smoke-free policy. Results Diné perspectives have shifted away from family and cultural teachings considered protective of a smoke-free life, and struggle to balance the ethical and economics of respect for individual and collective rights to live and work in smoke-free environments. Conclusions Indigenous-centred approaches to public health research and policy analysis contribute to understanding the cultural knowledge, practices and beliefs that are protective of the health and well-being of Indigenous people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)i19-i25
JournalTobacco Control
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Disparities
  • Public opinion
  • Public policy
  • Secondhand smoke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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