Originally posted: Oct 26, 2021 9:01 a.m.
WINDOW ROCK, Arizona – Casinos in the Navajo Nation and other public places in Arizona and New Mexico could become permanently smoke-free indoors.
On October 19, the members of the 24th Navajo Nation Council passed a law by a vote of 20 for and 3 against, to enact the Niłch ‘éí Bee Ííńá – Air is Life Act of 2021.
The bill prohibits the use of commercial tobacco products in enclosed indoor workplaces or public places, and within 25 feet of any indoor area across the Navajo Nation.
“The Air is Life law is important for the livelihood of our families. More than ever, we must protect the quality of our sacred and life force, our air, ”said delegate Carl Slater. “This legislation is more important than profit. It is about protecting the lives of our casino workers, tribal workers and loved ones from the harms of commercial smoking.”
The Air is Life Coalition has worked for 13 years to educate the public about the dangers of second-hand smoke and to organize the communities behind a comprehensive smoke-free bill.
“The Air is Life Coalition’s long and hard lobbying efforts are to be commended,” said President Daniel Tso. “The perseverance of Dr Patricia Nez-Henderson and her team deserves to be recognized. I am honored to have been invited to sponsor this historic legislation. The Council has declared that the health of the Navajo people is precious and does not do not play with it. “
Nez-Henderson, original founder of the coalition and current vice-president of the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, continues to share her concern for the lives of Navajo youth who are actively smoking in greater numbers today.
“The health of our people is important to our future,” said President Seth Damon. public places and tribal office buildings for the safety of all. ”
After certification by Damon, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has 10 days to veto or approve the resolution.
“Niłch ‘éí Bee Ííńá represents the oxygen we breathe to live and exist every day,” said delegate Nathaniel Brown. “We must protect our people at all costs and that includes our hard working casino staff. We all know about the health risks of commercial tobacco, including fatal cancers. Life is sacred and this legislation sends that message. “
The Chair of the Health, Education and Human Services Committee (HEHSC), Daniel Tso, is the sponsor of the bill, with Damon, Slater and Brown as co-sponsors.