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Two more tribes go tobacco-free in Southeast Alaska

Posted: November 19, 2012 - 3:39am

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) congratulated the Skagway Tribal Council and the Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan) last week for recently adopting local, comprehensive tobacco-free workplace resolutions.

The tribes join 13 Southeast and 36 statewide Alaska tribes that have already passed local smoke-free and tobacco-free policies. This tribal movement for tobacco-free workplaces was sparked by the Alaska Federation of Natives and the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp delegates, who in 2011 unanimously supported a statewide smoke-free workplace resolution.

In Southeast Alaska, 88 percent of Alaska Native people have smoke-free rules in their homes, and about 88 percent believe that smoking should never be allowed in work places.

Yet, about twice as many Alaska Native adults still work at unprotected workplaces compared to non-Native adults.

A significant amount of secondhand smoke exposure occurs in workplaces, bingo halls and other public places. Secondhand smoke exposure has known immediate adverse health effects on the heart and blood vessels and contributes to preventable illness and premature death.

“When tribal leadership creates workplace policies that protect tribal members from secondhand smoke, they also support people to quit tobacco. This is a win-win situation,” said Andrea Thomas, SEARHC Tobacco Program Manager.

For more information about passing local tobacco free policies, please contact SEARHC Tobacco Program Manager Andrea Thomas at 966-8883 or andrea.thomas@searhc.org, or contact SEARHC Health Educator Edy Rodewald at 364-4452 or edy.rodewald@searhc.org.

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