Goals & Objectives

the-right-to-breatheThe Right to Breathe Clean Air.

Objective: Increase the percentage of Alaskans who are protected from the harms of secondhand smoke.

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Tobacco use, in particular cigarette smoking, impacts those who do not participate in its consumption. Since the 1986 Surgeon General’s report titled The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking stated that secondhand smoke causes disease in non-smokers, the extent to which exposure to secondhand smoke affects non-smokers has become increasingly well-documented. The science tells us: secondhand smoke kills.

This goal contributes to ATCA’s core purpose of unified, comprehensive tobacco control by allowing non-smokers to live free from tobacco’s negative impact. ATCA works to give all Alaskans the ability to live and work in smoke-free environments.

Current Focus

Sustain and increase proper enforcement of existing clean indoor air policies.
Work with business owners to help them enforce the law on their property and use available public signage.

Why Are We Doing This?

“When individuals inhale cigarette smoke, either directly or secondhand, they are inhaling more than 7,000 chemicals: hundreds of these are hazardous, and at least 69 are known to cause cancer. The chemicals are rapidly absorbed by cells in the body and produce disease-causing cellular changes.”
(2010 Surgeon General’s Report)

Studies following the passage of smokefree workplace laws continue to come from communities reporting notable immediate reductions in hospital admissions for heart attacks and other ailments. Among those are Montana, Colorado, Ohio, Indiana, New York, and most recently Arizona — where $16.8 million in avoided hospitalization costs were associated with drops in admissions for heart attacks, angina, stroke and asthma.

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which sets national industry standards, ventilation efforts cannot protect against secondhand smoke, nor can attached smoking rooms or air cleaning equipment.

What We’re Doing and How You Can Help

There are now 27 states with smokefree housing authorities and in 2010 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a memo to their rental assistance program recipients on how to adopt smokefree policies. Alaska has 5 tribal housing authorities with smoke-free policies for some or all their properties:

  • Petersburg Indian Association
  • Cook Inlet Housing Authority
  • Aleutian Housing Authority
  • North Pacific Rim Housing Authority
  • Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority

The Smokefree Housing Work Group provides example policies and resources for smokefree housing.
Join ATCA and help the Smokefree Housing Work Group.

The Smokefree Workplace Law Work Group is working towards a statewide comprehensive smokefreee workplace law.
Join ATCA and help the Smokefree Housing Work Group.

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all-ak-tobacco-freeAll Alaskans Become Tobacco Free.

Objective: To reduce disparities in tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

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There is great disparity in tobacco use among diverse Alaskan populations. For instance, Alaska Natives in general, use tobacco products at a much higher rate than Alaska’s population as a whole. Those living in rural areas of the state have a 36% smoking rate, well above the national rate of 20%, and double the smoking rate in urban areas like Anchorage. Men also smoke at a much higher rate than women. Tobacco use rates are also dramatically higher amonglow income populations in the state. These are just a few examples of populations at higher risk for tobacco use and tobacco-related health complications.

Current Focus

Promote culturally appropriate prevention and cessation protocols to increase the cultural competence of tobacco programs.

Why Are We Doing This?

Tobacco use is extremely harmful to human health. It is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States. And is directly responsible for approximately 30 percent of all cancer deaths, 21 percent of all coronary heart disease deaths, and 18 percent of all stroke deaths. The burden of tobacco is not equal. Data show that specific groups bear a greater impact from tobacco use.

Alaskan Adult Tobacco Use Disparities: Race, Socio-economic Standing, Gender and Age
– Smoking continues at an elevated rate among Alaska Native adults.
– Non-native adults with low educational attainment and income smoke at higher rates.
– Young adults 18-29 smoke at a higher rate.
– The number of Alaska men who smoke and use smokeless tobacco is on the rise — also likely attributable to industry marketing tactics.
Alaskan Youth Tobacco Use Disparities: Race
– Alaska Native high school students who smoke fell significantly from 62% in 1995 to 23% in 2009.
– In 2003, Alaska Native students were almost four times more likely to smoke than white students.
– In 2010, a disparity still exists, with Alaska Native students still twice as likely to smoke as their non-Native peers.
Alaskan Youth Tobacco Use Disparities: Gender
– Alaskan males use tobacco significantly more than females.
– In Alaskan youth, there is a huge disparity between Alaska Native youth and their non-Native peers, a difference of 8% in boys and 13% in girls.

What We’re Doing

LEAD Group (Leadership in Eliminating Alaska Disparities) work aligns with National DHHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities: A Nation Free of Disparities in Health and Health Care, which is part of a national strategy that includes increasing tobacco policies, quit line promotion, and cessation services in sites such as public housing, community health centers, substance abuse, mental health facilities and correctional facilities.

The Leadership for Eliminating Alaskan Disparities workgroup and the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium are working together to support local tribes in their efforts to create completely tobacco-free environments. Many tribes have already passed resolutions making their tribal workplaces completely smokefree or tobacco-free. If your local tribe is interested in passing a resolution of their own, sample smokefree and tobacco-free workplace resolutions are available for download.

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communities-take-actionCommunities Take Action.

Objective: Build the capacity of Alaskan communities to respond to the burden of tobacco use.

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None of these goals can be successfully implemented unless community and state partners have the tools, skills and awareness needed to realize change. This goal addresses building capacity to implement and increase community readiness to accept tobacco prevention and control efforts. Increasing a community’s capacity requires that adequate funding is available, the proper program and organizational infrastructure is in place, and that a wide range of people and partners are able to be called upon for help.

Current Focus

– Grow ATCA and work to have more advocates on the ground.
– Target the Behavioral Health Field for support.

What We’re Doing

Good for Health, Great for Business Ad Campaign
Smokefree policies have been shown to not only improve the health and productivity of employees, but also decrease business costs for insurance, cleaning and maintenance. The “Good for Health, Great for Business” Ad Campaign is part of positive efforts in Alaskan communities to respond to tobacco use.

Join ATCA and help the Smokefree Housing Workgroup

Join ATCA and help the Youth Workgroup

Communities Taking Action

The Smokefree Anchorage Coalition celebrated the 1st Anniversary of Anchorage smokefree workplace laws in 2008 with a media campaign promoting the positive outcomes of the ordinance. In the Mat-Su Valley, Alaska Family Services raised awareness of secondhand smoke hazards, youth tobacco use and resources to quit tobacco. A smokefree dining guide was produced to showcase smokefree Mat-Su eateries.
– Medical center campuses are tobacco-free including:
– Providence Alaska Medical Center
– Alaska Regional Hospital
– Mat-Su Regional Medical Center
– Alaska Psychiatric Institute

The Tanana Chief’s Conference raises public awareness about secondhand smoke throughout 42 villages.
Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center campuses are tobacco-free.

The Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation tobacco prevention program has developed media featuring local individuals and youth sports teams to promote local cessation/ prevention efforts, Alaska’s Tobacco Quitline services and a tobacco-free lifestyle.

Lake Peninsula School District’s newsletter and intranet website share their program with 14 village schools, linking modules of prevention curriculum to district-required teaching standards. Local wellness teams were developed at Nondalton and Chignik Lake school sites.

Kenai Peninsula:
Peninsula Smokefree Partnership, with their partners Kenaitze Indian Tribe and Chugachmiut, engage children in all area schools through live presentations, events and media. Their comprehensive approach involves community leaders, healthcare providers and clean indoor air coalition members in prevention activities.

Kodiak, Seward & Valdez:
Chugachmiut successfully worked with the North Pacific Rim Housing Authority for adoption of their smokefree multi-unit housing policy which was the first in Alaska.

The Qutecak Native Tribe of Seward and the Tatitlek Native Tribe both adopted clean indoor air tribal policies for all tribal buildings.

Valdez Youth Awareness Coalition engaged youth advocates in the completion of a video project explaining the effects of secondhand smoke on nonsmokers.

Kodiak Area Native Association hospital and clinics went tobacco-free.

Kotzebue & Nome:
Maniilaq Assocation’s tobacco education effort promotes the new Alaska State Activities Association’s (ASAA) “no tobacco” policy for students.

Norton Sound Health Corporation is smokefree.

The Nome Community Center and Nome Tobacco Control Alliance used media and events, including the 100th anniversary running of the All Alaska Sweepstakes, to educate the community about the dangers of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Nome Public Schools and Nome Community Center’s collaborative “Rural Tobacco Prevention Natural Helpers” program led to the development of a school wellness committee, teachers trained in prevention curricula, and school policies assessed in preparation for a comprehensive school-based tobacco prevention program.

The Eastern Aleutian Tribes have a Tobacco-Free Campus Policy for all nine clinic campuses.

All city buildings in the City of King Cove are smokefree.

Unalaska youth created a World No Tobacco Day event – 1200 ribbons in a public display to represent the people who die each day due to tobacco use.

Juneau & Sitka:
The Juneau Clean Air Coalition works with the city to successfully implement a strengthened smokefree workplace law and support Bartlett Regional Hospital’s new smokefree campus policy.

Petersburg Indian Association worked toward a comprehensive tobacco prevention and control effort with expanded health service programs.

Juneau School District conducts high school tobacco cessation support groups and implemented the “Project Alert” prevention curriculum in the middle school.

Sitka School District’s “KICK IT” program strengthened the district’s tobacco-free policy to include all students, staff and visitors on campus, in vehicles and at school-sponsored events. A “Tobacco-Free Fun” class was established at the alternative school, linking students to local cessation services at SEARHC.

Yukon-Kuskokwim & Bethel:
2011 is the 12 year anniversary of the Bethel clean indoor air policy.

Yukon-Koyukuk School District’s “Partners for Safe Communities” in Allakaket and Nulatto, sites chosen for having the highest tobacco use in their district, hold weekly prevention activities. Over hald the Allakaket student population, along with community volunteers, attended a tobacco-prevention lock-in.

Kashunamiut School District’s “Positive Action” Project in Chevak implemented the “Life Skills Training” prevention curriculum in 2nd-12th grades and began a parenting module at Chevak Head Start to strengthen family involvement.

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kids-never-startKids Never Start: Protect Our Kids.

Objective: To increase the percentage of Alaskan youth who never start using tobacco.

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It is in the tobacco industry’s best interest to foster and encourage the next generation of tobacco users. The tobacco prevention and control movement must be vigilant and work to support people, notably youth, in their choice to never start to smoke.To be successful in preventing tobacco use, many interrelated systems must be in place – an effective enforcement program discouraging the sale of tobacco products to minors; strong educational programs in the schools and at the community level to help kids engage in healthy activities; effective counter-marketing efforts that reach youth; and a strong policy foundation.

Current Focus

Focus effort on bringing youth into the broad tobacco prevention coalition – build grassroots support around the state.

Why Are We Doing This?

Almost 90% of smokers began smoking before they could legally buy cigarettes at age 19. The average age smokers start is age 15. If a person is not a smoker by 19, he or she is unlikely to become one.

Alaska gains 1,100 new youth smokers every year.

18,000 Alaskan kids now alive will die of tobacco-related causes.

Youth purchase of tobacco dropped significantly from 27% in 1995 to 8% in 2009.

The current rate of youth tobacco use in Alaska is 16% and declining, below the national average of 20%. Since 1995, youth tobacco use has been reduced 50%.

“For every thousand kids kept from smoking by a state program, future healthcare costs in the state decline by roughly $16 million (in current dollars), and for every thousand adults prompted to quit, future health costs drop by roughly $8.5 million.”
(Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids)

What We’re Doing

Chad Bullock, a young man who has won national media recognition for taking on “Big Tobacco,” is in Anchorage to kick off his national Lips Campaign, an effort to get young people involved in antismoking advocacy by taking pictures of friends’ lips and getting them to pledge to remain tobacco-free. The idea for the Lips Campaign was generated after Bullock learned of a quote from a major tobacco company representative who, when asked the age of the kids they were targeting, replied, “They got lips? We want them.”

The Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) created the Play for Keeps Campaign, a statewide Tobacco, Alcohol and Controlled Substance program focused on students participating in high school interscholastic activities. The program is designed to reinforce good decisions and a healthy lifestyle for young people by imposing sanctions supported by educational components for those who do not follow the rules.

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quit-tobaccoQuit Tobacco: There’s Help.

Objective: To increase the percentage of Alaskans who successfully quit using tobacco.

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It is well documented that it takes the typical smoker up to 10 attempts before they are successful in quitting for good.
– 71% of Alaskan adult smokers want to quit.
– 62% of smokers made a quit attempt in the past year, compared to 45% in 1996.
– Prevalence of daily smoking is down to 13% from 22% in 1996.Almost two-thirds of Alaskans who have ever been smokers have now quit — 60% in 2009, compared to 49% in 1996.
Programs that assist both young and adult smokers to quit can produce significant health and economic benefits. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines describe a variety of effective cessation strategies, including brief advice by medical providers to quit smoking, FDA approved pharmacotherapy (e.g., nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)) and population based cessation help lines or Quit Lines.Systematic changes within health care organizations are critical to the broad-based success of cessation interventions. Components of a health care cessation system include implementing a system to screen patients for tobacco use, training providers in the clinical guidelines related to tobacco cessation, and offering cessation treatment services. Additionally, a comprehensive statewide cessation system needs to include reimbursement for services through all third-party payers.

Current Focus

– Use cessation education as a platform for advocacy for statewide CIA campaign.
– Use cessation counter-marketing as a platform for statewide CIA campaign advocacy.
– Better support youth trying to quit.

Why Are We Doing This?

What’s in Cigarette Smoke?
– Toxic gasses from incinerated tobacco that spread rapidly through the air.
– Small particles that remain suspended in the air indefinitely.
– Larger particles that settle on floors, ceilings, and walls — only to be swept into the air again.
What’s in Cigarette Smoke? – Chemicals
Here are some of the chemicals you breathe in secondhand smoke:
– Acetone, or nail polish remover
– Ammonia, or floor/ toilet cleaner
– Stearic acid, part of candle wax
– Formaldehyde, which is used for preserving dead bodies
What’s in Cigarette Smoke? – Metals
Here are some of the metals you breathe in secondhand smoke:
– Aluminum, silver, titanium, zinc and lead metal
– Cadmium, part of batteries
– Polonium 210, a radioactive compound


What’s in Cigarette Smoke? – Poisons
Here are some of the poisons you breathe in secondhand smoke:
– Arsenic, or rat poison
– Hydrogen cyanide, or gas chamber poison
– Insecticides like DDT and Dieldrin
What’s in Cigarette Smoke? – Gases
Here are some of the gases you breathe in secondhand smoke:
– Carbon monoxide and butane, two types of car exhaust
– Methane, or swamp gas
– Methanol, or rocket fuel

What We’re Doing

– 3rd Party Payer Campaign
– US Surgeon General, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, released a report on the harmful effects of tobacco smoke, describing how direct and secondhand smoke damage cells in every single organ of the body and subsequently lead to cancer, SIDS, birth defects, other diseases and death. The report also details the biology of addiction on a molecular level, to overwhelmingly convey, as Dr. Benjamin put it, “There is no such thing as a safe cigarette.” Read more >

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sustain-ak-effortSustain Alaska’s Effort.

Objective: Support and maintain a comprehensive statewide tobacco control program.

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Alaska’s sustained tobacco control programs have achieved a 21% reduction in adult tobacco use since 1996, translating into 7,800 fewer tobacco-related deaths and a $290 million savings in future health care costs. By 2009, only 16% of high school youth smoked, representing a decrease of more than 50% since 1995 (37%) – an achievement that translates into 1,944 fewer tobacco-related deaths and a savings of $34 million in future health care costs.Yet Alaska is still in the top 20% nationally for smoking prevalence and only roughly 50% of the population is protected from secondhand smoke.Fundamental to the success of tobacco prevention and control activities in Alaska is a well-funded, well-operated, statewide comprehensive tobacco prevention and control program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that state tobacco-control programs be comprehensive, sustainable, and accountable. In 2007, the CDC issued a revised Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, which drew upon evidence from analyses of the past decade’s comprehensive state tobacco-control programs to support five specific components of a comprehensive program. CDC recommends that states establish tobacco control programs that contain the following elements:
– State and Community Interventions
– Health Communication Interventions
– Cessation Interventions
– Surveillance and Evaluation
-AdministrationandManagementThis plan goes far to work toward the CDC Best Practices example. However, without funding and support for tobacco control efforts, the plan will be challenging to realize.

Current Focus

– Maintain current and pursue optimum CDC recommended funding levels and collaboration on seeking outside funding opportunities.
– Ensure comprehensive data collection.

What We’re Doing

Alaska State Tobacco Summit

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February  2018
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