NPR logo
Navajo President Weighs Ban On Public Smoking
  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Navajo President Weighs Ban On Public Smoking



And here's something else that may be cool. There could be a new ban on smoking, this time in public areas in the country's largest Indian reservation. From member station KNAU in Flagstaff, Arizona, Mark Herz has more.

MARK HERZ: The Navajo Nation Council has approved a ban on cigarettes and chewing tobacco in public places across its vast reservation in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The ban would include outdoor events such as fairs and rodeos, but would exempt tobacco used for traditional or religious purposes.

While Navajo Nation health officials support the ban, the tribe's gaming czar is worried it will cut into profits at their first casino, set to open later this year. Bronson Peshlakai, spokesman for the council, said the tribe had resisted gaming for about 10 years. He says casinos can typically be smoky, and that was part of the impetus to ban smoking now.

Mr. BRONSON PESHLAKAI (Spokesman, Navajo Nation): We're very new to the gaming industry, and we think this is going to send a statement out to the other new nations, as well as the United States in general, that we're taking care of the health of our people.

HERZ: Arizona enacted a smoking ban last year that specifically exempted Indian casinos. Navajo Nation president Joe Shirley Junior should have the ban on his desk today. He will have 10 days to either veto it or sign it into law.

For NPR News, I'm Mark Herz in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.