Tammi Meissner, Health Educator, SEARHC, comments on Alaska Legislature passing SB 63, Alaska's smokefree workplace law.

SB 63 is a win for Alaska Natives

As a health educator, I work in communities using evidence-based strategies to help with changing social norms, system changes, cessation and advancement of smoke and tobacco free workplaces.  I also act as a resource to community leaders, organizations, businesses, and Alaskan Native Tribes in identifying and reducing the impact of tobacco within their communities.  I feel that the passage of the Alaska smoke free workplace law, SB 63, as a huge win in protecting and preventing secondhand smoke exposure for those who work in or frequent places in Alaska that still allow smoking but will now have to comply with providing clean indoor air for all workers and patrons.

With the Alaska Legislature passing a statewide smoke free workplace bill, this will protect the roughly 50% of Alaskans who are currently not protected by a smoke free workplace law.

About 2 in 5 (42%) Alaska Native adults smoke, compared to 1 in 6 (17%) non-Native adults.[1]

As a Health Educator, I am aware that creating a smoke free workplace, encourages smoking individuals to quit, helps those who have quit to continue abstaining, and protects everyone from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. I look forward to anticipating, in the next several years, a decline in the percentage of Alaska Native smokers.

It has taken many years and a lot of hard work by many individuals and organizations to help this law get passed. I am very excited that I am here to experience this monumental shift in social change.

[1] http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Chronic/Documents/Tobacco/PDF/2016_AKTobaccoFacts .pdf

Link to Alaska Legislature Passes SB 63


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