You Don’t Have To Smoke To Be At Risk For Health Problems
United Indian Health Services-NATIVE Tobacco Project*
Lung cancer can be caused by the unfiltered smoke that is exhaled by smokers and comes from the end of the burning cigarette. This is known as side-stream or secondhand smoke. People that work at places where smoking is permitted come into contact with this secondhand smoke. Employees of Casinos have a higher risk of developing lung cancer and other health problems. One example of this has been posted on the website of the Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/stories/nathan.html):
“Nathan, a Native American and member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, never smoked cigarettes. For 11 years, he worked at a casino that allowed smoking. Secondhand smoke contains dangerous chemicals. The exposure to secondhand smoke caused him to develop allergies and serious infections that triggered asthma attacks, eventually causing permanent lung damage called bronchiectasis. "The casino was filled with smoke from so many people smoking." Breathing in other people's smoke on a daily basis made his health so bad that he had to leave that job.
Nathan used to be active and athletic. He served in the Marines. He loved to participate in tribal dances. After getting sick, dancing just a few steps wore him out. Nathan hoped that sharing his story would help others understand how dangerous exposure to secondhand smoke really is. Nathan's lung damage led to his death on October 17, 2013. He was 54.”
The right to breath clean air is not in the constitution directly. It may be considered to fall under the concept of an Americans (including American Indians since 1924) “inherent and inalienable rights to the pursuit of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” One just has to consider that secondhand smoke is a leading cause of a large range of dangerous health conditions to non-smokers.
Contact Andre Cramblit at the NATIVE Tobacco Project at (707) 825-5070 to ask about culturally appropriate cessation classes. If you want additional information and resources go to www.nobutts.org/ or call 1 (800) No Butts, (1-800-662-8887).