The city of Stilwell has adopted a tobacco-free policy at all city-owned buildings and properties starting this month, thanks to help from Cherokee Nation Public Health.
STILWELL, Okla. – The city of Stilwell has adopted a tobacco-free policy at all city-owned buildings and properties starting this month, 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.
Cherokee Nation Public Health worked with the city of Stilwell 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,” Senior Director of Cherokee Nation Public Health 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.”
Cherokee Nation Public Health 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, to name a few.
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 here 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,” said Larry Nettles, clerk for the city of Stilwell.
Smoking rates are decreasing in the United States, but the use of electronic cigarettes has increased in the state of 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,” Cherokee Nation Public Health 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.”
Cherokee Nation 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.
If you would like to learn more about the TSET Healthy Living Program or Certified Healthy Oklahoma, please email Hillary Mead at Hillary-Mead@cherokee.org.
Cherokee Nation News Release
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