Will Chavez: Cherokee Nation subsidizes unhealthy business

"As this column took shape, I learned Principal Chief Bill John Baker issued a proclamation declaring Nov. 15 as “Great American Smoke Out Day” in the Cherokee Nation.

“By doing all we can to educate others about the dangers of smoking commercial tobacco, we are able to save lives and we are able to save money for health care needs in the future,” Baker said in a statement.

His statement is direct. Smoking commercial tobacco is dangerous. Education about that danger is key to saving lives and health care money.

However, on Nov. 13, the Tribal Council approved an act that provides $1,000 monthly subsidies to Cherokee Nation-licensed smoke shops in which the operator owns the shop and the land on which it sits.

In September, the council approved an act that subsidizes 75 percent of monthly land lease payments for CN-licensed smoke shops in which the operator leases the land on which the shop sits. This act is meant to help smoke shop retailers make monthly lease payments to landowners. And the subsidies will be paid from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013."

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Will Chavez: Tribe subsidizes smoke shops while encouraging people to stop smoking (The Cherokee Phoenix 11/30)

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