For Immediate Release
Nov. 5, 2018
All About the People: Muscogee (Creek) Nation Tobacco Prevention Program Holds the Great American Smokeout Event
OKMULGEE, Okla. – As the single most preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., commercial tobacco use prevention remains at the forefront throughout the country. Each year, on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout is recognized among health care providers, community groups and other entities as a day of to bring awareness to the effects of tobacco use and offer tools to quit.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Tobacco Prevention Program has participated in the annual event by inviting anyone and everyone to challenge themselves to go “cold turkey” and quit smoking for one day, in hopes that one day turns into forever.
On Nov. 15, MCN Tobacco Prevention will participate in GASO by hosting this year’s event dubbed the “Cold Turkey Challenge” with a walk, lunch, informational booths and raffle drawings with prizes that include turkeys for the holidays.
MCN Tobacco Prevention Program Manager Sprint Williams said the event is important for not only smokers to attend, but also non-smokers who can show up as a sponsor to support a friend who is trying to quit.
“We have found that if you have a friend or somebody there by your side to try to help you, then it’s easier for somebody to quit,” Williams said. “So that’s why we encourage the non-smoker to come out and support for that day. Basically, for that one day you’re helping a friend stop smoking and that one day may turn into two and then two weeks.”
Williams said the idea of the campaign is that if one quits smoking for even a week, then the hard part is over because it takes an average of seven attempts before a smoker actually quits.
Through tribal funds and the state-funded grant, M-Power, the program is able to advocate for smoke-free environments and bring awareness and tools to help citizens and communities quit smoking and improve their health.
According to the American Cancer Society, quitting smoking at any age improves health immediately and over the long term.
MCN Tobacco Prevention participates in other partnerships and programs to assist in quitting including the Baby and Me – Tobacco Free Program that assists pregnant women to quit smoking and continue after child birth.
Other program efforts include outreach and presentations to youth in the communities by visiting schools and meeting with youth programs as a way to provide statistics and facts and the dangers of tobacco use.
“We try to stay as connected with the youth as we can,” Williams said. “With all the risk and the statistics, it’s just one of those things that the more you know, the better. So, we want to give even the kids a lot of that knowledge too.”
However, Williams said between the program’s four staff members, a majority of their advocacy is partnering with the Oklahoma Health Department and other entities to implement policies changes to tobacco control.
“We partner with the state and try to get some better policies set in place things such as workplaces; making those smoke free,” Williams said. “Basically, we try to work on and improve tobacco control policies for not only the tribe but the state, as well.”
For example, the program was able to update policy, which will make the upcoming grand opening of the Historic Council House a smoke-free event. Williams said they hope the Nov. 17 grand opening will be the start of many smoke-free areas.
Providing the tools and support to citizens and community members is the main objective of the MCN Tobacco Prevention Program, as it is just another outlet citizens and non-citizens are able utilize as needed because it’s all about the people.
The program’s GASO event Nov. 15 will have information tables set up from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the MCN Tribal Complex. Lunch and door prizes will also be part of the day’s activities.
The MCN Tobacco Prevention Program is located at 1201 S. Belmont St. Suite 105 Okmulgee, OK 74447. For more information and to sign up for the GASO event, contact the program at 918-756-6231.