Tulalips target tobacco use

A $334,000 anti-smoking program is being launched by the Tulalip Tribes, with a special emphasis on reaching students, pregnant women and people with diabetes.

The programs will be open to tribal members and other interested community members.

“I would like to reach as many in the Snohomish County community as possible,” said Nadine Carter, tobacco cessation program coordinator for the Tulalip Tribes.

“I’m happy to help anyone who needs help,” she said. “The chances of success are very high if they do what we ask them to do.”

The Tulalip Tribes contributed $313,600 toward the programs from its casino revenues. The remaining $20,400 came from the state Department of Health.

The strategy behind the program is to focus on convincing young people to not use tobacco and on persuading adults to stop, said Mel Sheldon, chairman of the Tulalip Tribes.

Although one of the programs will be offered next week at Tulalip Elementary School, many of the other efforts will begin early next year, said George White, a tribal spokesman.

The smoking cessation campaign’s goals are to reduce smoking among youths, pregnant women and diabetics. Activities include:

  • Recruiting and sponsoring 20 nonsmoking students in the Teens Against Tobacco Use program.

    Sponsoring the Choice and Consequences program, which demonstrates the damage caused by tobacco on the body, at eight area schools.

    Expanding the tribes’ tobacco cessation program in schools, casinos and at the health clinic to reach tribal members. The effort will include classes, advertising, health education, health fairs and sponsoring other tobacco cessation activities.

    Carter said that part of the passion for her work comes from seeing her father and grandfather die of smoking-related causes.

    “This is a labor of love,” she said. “I’ve seen the harm. Nothing would make me happier than if my phone rang off the hook.”

    Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486, salyer@heraldnet.com.

    Dire consequences

    With a smoking rate of 33 percent, adult American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest rate of tobacco use among every age, ethnic and gender group in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among American Indians. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among American Indians. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for both diseases, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

    More info: Call Nadine Carter, tobacco cessation program coordinator at the Tulalip Health Clinic, at 360-716-5719.

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