CN teams with Stilwell on tobacco-free ordinance

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/19/2018 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The city of Stilwell has adopted a tobacco-free policy at all city-owned buildings and properties, thanks to help from Cherokee Nation Public Health. COURTESY
STILWELL – The city of Stilwell has adopted a tobacco-free policy at all city-owned buildings and properties that started in October, thanks to help from Cherokee Nation Public Health.

The designation aims to reduce tobacco use, promote healthier lifestyles and open the door for Stilwell to become a Certified Healthy Community through the Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program.

CNPH worked with the city for more than a year to raise awareness on the dangers of tobacco use, which led to the city passing an ordinance on Oct. 1. The ordinance prohibits tobacco use, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices, on all city-owned property and in city vehicles.

“Our public health educators have worked very hard to raise awareness about tobacco use and encourage healthy living practices in Adair County,” CNPH Senior Director Lisa Pivec said. “This ordinance is the result of a collaborative effort, and we are very proud of the city of Stilwell for making a difference in the lives of their citizens and moving towards being certified as a healthy community.”

CNPH has also worked with more than 10 local cities and community coalitions to pass tobacco-free city ordinances, including Muskogee, Tahlequah, Webbers Falls, Braggs, Porum, Pryor Creek and Warner.

At least 52 other communities have started following suit in passing tobacco-free ordinances as well, according to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. Additionally, school districts, including those in Adair County, have revised their 24/7 tobacco-free school policies to include e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

“We must set an example for our citizens and our children that our health, and the health of those around us, is important. We cannot hope that someone else will do it for us. This ordinance says the city of Stilwell cares,” Stilwell Clerk Larry Nettles said.

Smoking rates are decreasing in the United States, but the use of electronic cigarettes has increased in Oklahoma. A recent state wellness profile focused on health in Adair County showed that tobacco use, poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle contributed to more than 60 percent of deaths in the county.

“In order to reach our goal, we teamed up with the city to provide educational materials and raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use,” CNPH Coordinator Shaina Kindle said. “I am so proud of the city for taking this first step in creating a healthier environment for our citizens and a healthier future for our children.”

The CN will also provide tobacco cessation classes and signage marking tobacco-free areas for all city offices and parks, and plans to help the city apply for the TSET Community Healthy Incentive Grant.

To learn more about the TSET Healthy Living Program or Certified Healthy Oklahoma, email Hillary-Mead@cherokee.org.

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