October 27 2011
Delegates at the 2011 Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp in Klawock on Oct. 7 unanimously passed a resolution in support of statewide smoke-free workplaces to protect Alaska Native people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
This resolution, brought to the floor by ANS delegates Selina Everson and Dolores Cadiente, for the first time expanded support for smoke-free workplaces from a regional to a state-wide level. ANB/ANS Grand Camp has taken a lead in smoke-free facilities, passing resolutions in 2003 and 2007 in support of smoke-free ANB/ANS Halls.
“With high tobacco use, as is seen in the Alaska Native population, comes exposure to secondhand smoke.” said Rowena Reeves, SEARHC Tobacco Health Educator, who highlighted the importance of smoke-free initiatives during an educational presentation at ANB/ANS Grand Camp.
Lively testimony followed the presentation about the negative impact of tobacco on personal health or the health of loved ones. Many lost lives were attributed to tobacco use. One delegate summed it up, “We need to do whatever we can to keep young people from ever starting to use tobacco.”
“The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) rank smoke-free workplaces and tobacco taxes as the best way to protect people from secondhand smoke, reduce tobacco use and prevent youth initiation,” said Andrea Thomas, SEARHC’s Tobacco Department Manager. “Smoke-free workplaces not only protect Alaska Native people’s health, they also help to reduce tobacco use overall, model healthy behavior, and support quit attempts.”
For information about the SEARHC Tobacco Program, contact Andrea Thomas at 907-966-8883 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.