|  October 26, 2014  |  
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Nome Celebrates One Year Smokefree

NOME, ALASKA – September marks the one year anniversary of Nome, AK becoming smokefree. Nome is a leader- and should be recognized for protecting its citizens from secondhand smoke and for becoming a healthier community. Last May, the Nome City Council voted four to one to pass a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance, which includes workplaces, restaurants, bars and hotel and motel rooms. Nome is one of several Alaska communities with smokefree workplace policies, however less than 50 percent of Alaska is covered by a smokefree workplace policy as there is no statewide law.

Danielle Sylvester, Tobacco Prevention Program Coordinator at Nome Community Center said, "I have had so much positive feedback from workers to patrons to community members. An employee told me 'I'm a smoker and I like a smokefree atmosphere much better. It's cleaner in here. You would be shocked to see how dirty it was before because of the cigarette smoke.' And another employee said she’s comfortable going home and hugging her son without having to change first.”

Nome celebrated the accomplishment by hosting a community party. “We need to take time to celebrate our successes,” said Sylvester. Jenny Olendorff, Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance Co-chair, commented “More and more communities and businesses across Alaska are choosing to go smokefree, and protect the people who live and work in them. There is a groundswell of activity happening, and if Nome can go smokefree – any city can. Smokefree policies are important because of the impact it has on the people. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate secondhand smoke exposure. The only way to fully protect Alaskans is to implement a smokefree workplace policy.”

The Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) is a statewide organization that works to create conditions in Alaska to be tobacco-free. They provide education and resources about tobacco prevention. Thier vision is to create conditions for Alaskans to live free from the harmful effects of tobacco. For more information on how to support smokefree environments, go to alaskatca.org or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/MakeAlaskaTobaccoFree.

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