On February 5, the casinos of the Navajo Nation became smoke-free


The CDC refers to increased smoking policies as the pandemic’s “silver lining.”

When a new legislation takes effect on Saturday, February 5, casinos run by the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise will be tobacco-free.

On November 6, 2021, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez signed legislation making casinos and other public places smoke-free. This comes after the Navajo Nation Council voted 20-3 on October 19 to make casinos and other public venues smoke-free by passing the “Nilch’ é Bee ná – Air is Life Act 2021.”

Advocates for nonsmokers’ rights claimed they were “celebrating” the occasion on Friday.

Navajo Nation casinos will reopen in 2021 with Covid-19 safety standards in place, including smokefree interior policies, according to Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR). While activists applauded the temporary measures, authorities with the Navajo Nation said the decision to make the four tribe casinos and other public venues smoke-free permanently is a “huge milestone.”

According to ANR, more and more casinos around the country, including Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip, are turning smokefree. During Covid-19, at least 160 sovereign tribal gambling venues implemented smokefree regulations, approximately half of all states mandate commercial casinos to be smokefree inside, and nearly 1,100 gaming properties do not allow smoking.

According to the ANR, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in March that smokefree casino measures adopted in the previous year were a “silver lining” of the pandemic.

“We celebrate this win for the health of Navajo people after years of hard effort,” Dr. Patricia Nez Henderson, a member of the Air is Life Coalition, said in a statement. “We appreciate President Nez and the Navajo Nation Council’s leadership in ensuring that workers and visitors are protected from the hazardous effects of secondhand smoke.”

“The introduction of smokefree casinos is an important milestone that follows a trend of tribal casinos embracing smokefree indoor air standards,” said Cynthia Hallett, President and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. We applaud the sovereign Navajo Nation’s leadership for taking this step toward better health for all Navajo people, including those who work in casinos.””The Air is Life Act is a huge achievement and brave step in the right direction to encourage healthy living among our Navajo people,” President Nez stated in a statement released by the Navajo Nation. Nonsmokers, such as youngsters and the elderly, might be affected by secondhand smoke. Smoke-free workplaces and public spaces are the only way to safeguard nonsmokers and vulnerable populations from secondhand smoke, according to public health experts. Protecting our Navajo people’s right to breathe clean air is a fundamental right.”

Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy organization that claims to have been working since 1976 to safeguard everyone’s right to breathe clean air in workplaces and public places, ranging from offices and airlines to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR also claims that it has consistently exposed the tobacco industry’s meddling with sound and life-saving public health policies, and that it has effectively protected 61 percent of the population through municipal or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar legislation. According to ANR, it wants to fix loopholes in smoke-free workplace safeguards for workers in all types of establishments, including pubs, music venues, casinos, and hotels.

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