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Navajo Nation's Smoke-Free Legislation Is Historic Win for Health
Date:7/30/2008

WASHINGTON, July 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of William V. Corr, Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

The Navajo Nation Council has delivered a historic victory for health by approving legislation that prohibits the non-ceremonial use of tobacco products in all areas of the reservation except personal residential property. The Navajo Nation is a federally-recognized tribe encompassing portions of northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah. We urge Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., to sign into law this important legislation, which the Tribal Council approved at the conclusion of its weeklong summer session in Window Rock, Ariz.

The Council's 42-27 vote provides critical leadership in addressing the serious health hazards of tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke, which have a disproportionate impact among American Indians. American Indians have the highest prevalence of tobacco use in the United States, putting them at great risk of suffering from tobacco-related death and disease. According to the CDC's 2006 survey of adult smoking, 32.4 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives were current smokers, compared to 20.8 percent for the nation as a whole. It also serves as an example for other tribes by encouraging them to take similar action to protect their members from tobacco use and secondhand smoke.

We applaud the Southwest Navajo Tobacco Education Prevention Project, the American Cancer Society Great West Division, and bill sponsor Thomas Walker, Jr., for their leadership in championing this critical public health measure. The Navajo Nation legislation adds to the growing momentum across the country and around the world to protect the public from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke.

Currently, 24 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have passed smoke-free legislation that cover restaurants and bars. The states are Arizona, Ca
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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