OPINION: Local tribal councils become tobacco-free in 2012
Looking back at 2012 for Maniilaq Association's Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs, the year went fairly well. Both programs visited and met with all 12 of the Maniilaq Service Area local tribal council offices in each community and informed them the importance of becoming a 100 percent tobacco-free workplace and recognized the dangers of secondhand smoke to everyone.
Each tribal council was presented with a Thank You letter from the Alaska Federation of Natives and Maniilaq Association for sending a delegate to attend the 2011 Alaska Federation of Natives meeting and passing Resolution 11-51: Statewide smokefree workplaces to protect tribal citizens from secondhand smoke.
Each tribal council was also presented with a draft resolution for eliminating tobacco use in the workplace. The Resolution for the Control and Elimination of Tobacco in the Work Place and Enclosed Public Places recognizes that Alaska Native people have the highest rate of tobacco use in the State of Alaska and that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease and Alaska Native people suffer serious health consequences including heart disease and cancer. Another recognition is that exposure to secondhand smoke is another leading cause of preventable death, and causes disease in healthy nonsmokers, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and cancer.
So far the tribal governments that have passed the resolution are: Native Village of Buckland/Buckland IRA Council, Deering IRA Council, Native Village of Kobuk, Native Village of Selawik, Native Village of Kotzebue/Kotzebue IRA, Native Village of Point Hope, and Kiana Traditional Council.
Tobacco use is not a part of our Iñupiat Iłitqusiat: Respect for Elders, Responsibility to Tribe, Respect for Nature, Love for Children, Hunter Success, Domestic Skills, Family Roles, Sharing, Cooperation, Hard Work, Humility, Humor, Spirituality, Avoid Conflict, Respect for Others, Knowledge of Family Tree, and Knowledge of Language.
Once again Maniilaq Association's Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs would like to congratulate and thank those community tribal governments that have successfully passed this resolution. If you or someone you know wants to quit using tobacco products you can contact Maniilaq's Tobacco Cessation Counselor toll-free at 1-800-431-3321 extension 7175, locally at 442-7175, or use Alaska's Tobacco Quit Line, which is free, confidential, and it works. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. That's 1-800-784-8669. Taikuu!