NPR Story on Cigarette Smoking Prevention Policies on Reservations


Walking onto the gaming floor at the Twin Arrows Casino near Flagstaff, Ariz., is a sensory-rich experience, with winning bells and slot machine jingles a constant. But in addition to hearing the sounds of the gaming floor, visitors also smell cigarette smoke.

The Smoke-Free Arizona Act doesn’t apply to this casino, located just inside the southern borders of the Navajo Nation. That means smoking in an enclosed public space is legal.

But in some communities on the reservation, that’s beginning to change. Dozens of Navajo Nation communities passed local clean air resolutions this year. The measures ban tobacco use in government buildings and workplaces.

The Oso Vista Ranch Project, a youth development organization in northwestern New Mexico, is working to prevent Native American youth from smoking. In May, the group persuaded the Crownpoint chapter to ban smoking in public buildings, making it the first Navajo government entity to do so.