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Alaska Native tribal leaders speak out against smoking

Posted: October 31, 2011 - 11:02pm

Tribal leaders unanimously passed a resolution to support Alaska smokefree workplaces at this October’s Annual Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention.

“Tobacco use by Alaska Native adults and youth is higher than that of non-Natives, bringing death and disease that has historically been uncommon for Alaska Natives. Prevalence is at epidemic proportions with more than 40 percent of the Alaska Native adult population smoking,” said Dr. Gary Ferguson, Director of Wellness and Prevention at the Alaska Native Health Consortium and member of the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance.

Lincoln Bean Sr., delegate from the Organized Village of Kake, who is also chairman of the Alaska Native Health Board and representative for the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance, brought forth the resolution with support from SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Tobacco Program staff. Before the resolution was introduced at AFN, it had recently passed at the Alaska Native Sisterhood and Alaska Native Brotherhood’s Annual Grand Camp. ANS and ANB is the oldest indigenous persons civil rights organization in the United States.

“This resolution solidifies tribal support for smokefree workplaces. Smokefree policies protect workers, help people quit and promote healthy lifestyles,” said Bean.

The ATCA is a statewide organization that works to create conditions in Alaska to be tobacco-free. ATCA was formed in 1992 to create a statewide network of health advocates to develop, support and sustain comprehensive tobacco control programs.

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