Yellow Bird: Eliminate smoking at all tribal casinos
"As some of my friends know, I can be a pain in the neck to those who smoke. The letter from Dr. Eric Johnson reaffirmed my stance against cigarette smoking.

It also reminded me how negligent American Indian tribes are about nonsmoking policies. Unfortunately, there probably are more smokers on reservations than in the rest of their respective states. So, while Minnesota and North Dakota are trying to close the door on smoking, tribal governments have their foot in the door, holding it open.

I was a smoker some 20 years ago, but now, I dislike the smell of the smoke on my clothes, the allergy headaches and stinging eyes. These symptoms are mild compared with other medical afflictions as a result from smoking. According to the National Cancer Institute, cigarettes contain 4,000 chemical agents, including 60 carcinogens and substances such as carbon monoxide, tar, arsenic, lead and nicotine, which is responsible for tobacco addiction. The substances in cigarettes cause cancer, emphysema, cardiovascular diseases and other illnesses.

In the reservation political world, smoking bans, or a lack thereof, tend to follow the people in office. During the 1990 administration of Wilbur Wilkinson of the Three Affiliated Tribes, the smoke sometimes would be so heavy in the tribal council room it was difficult to see. Chairmen Ed Lonefight, Russell Mason, Tex Hall and Marcus Wells put smoking off-limits in the tribal office, and the air cleared. I think many of the tribes have similar histories — many places are moving toward nonsmoking.

Casinos are an exception. They are tribally managed and are not smoke-free. "

Get the Story:
Dorreen Yellow Bird: Casinos should eliminate smoking (The Grand Forks Herald 8/2)
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