Tobacco-Free Together

Attendees at theTobacco-Free Together Day not receive help to quit smoking, they also learned weaving and beading as a way to use cultural activities to cope with and get through nicotine cravings. Photo/Micheal Rios
Attendees at the Tobacco-Free Together Day not only received help to quit smoking, they also learned weaving and beading as a way to use cultural activities to cope with and get through nicotine cravings. Photo/Micheal Rios


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Smoke Salmon, Not Cigarettes. That was the theme at this year’s first ever Tobacco-Free Together Day, held on Wednesday, October 28 at Greg Williams Court from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Planned by the Adult and Youth Smoking Cessation programs, the event brought members of the Tulalip community together with the goal of getting as many people as possible to quit smoking for the day, begin thinking about quitting, and celebrating a journey to becoming smoke-free together.

Some quick, sobering facts. Although Native Americans make up approximately 1% of the United States population, we have the highest smoking rates of any racial/ethnic group in the United States. Two out of every five Native Americans will die from tobacco-related diseases if the current smoking rate of 40.8% persist. Currently, there is no proven, effective culturally-tailored smoking cessation program designed specifically for the Native American population.

Fortunately, there are dedicated folks within Tulalip’s Smoking Cessation programs who are committed to creating culturally-tailored stop-smoking events and strategies to help combat cigarette smoking, the number one cause of preventable death among Native Americans.

“Attendees shared a salmon lunch, learned some interesting facts about nicotine, and received a goodie bag including smoked salmon, facts about tobacco, and shirts sporting our motto for the event, ‘smoke salmon, not cigarettes’,” said Ashley Tiedman, Tobacco Cessation Program Coordinator. “It was a very positive day full of good vibes!  On top of the delicious lunch, we had the Rediscovery Program from Hibulb Cultural Center on hand teaching attendees cedar weaving. Also, Taylor Henry taught beading as a way to use cultural activities to cope with and get through nicotine cravings.


Photo/Micheal Rios
Photo/Micheal Rios


“It was a great start for an event we plan to have annually. A total of 120 people attended. Of those, about 30 people were thinking about quitting smoking, currently quitting, or committed to quit for the day.

“I really look forward to how this event will grow,” continued Ashley. “Tobacco-Free Together Day is a day for the whole community, whether you smoke or not, to come together and celebrate being smoke-free. The goal of this event was to help raise awareness on the dangers of smoking while also being a fun and relaxing environment where people wouldn’t feel pressured to quit, but be able to walk away with valuable resources rooted in culture, so when they’re ready to quit they’ll know what is available to help them on their journey to becoming smoke-free.”

Ready to quit smoking? Tulalip Tribes Stop Smoking Program can be reached at (360) 716-5719. Please call for supplies and support in your journey to become smoke-free.


Contact Micheal Rios at

Holiday Stress and Smoking

20 Quick Tips to Help You Manage Holiday Stress Smoke-Free

By Terry Martin,

Fa-la-la-la-ugh! The holiday season is a stressful time of year for most people. For those of us who are working to quit smoking, the holidays can be especially challenging. Use these tips to help you manage holiday stress smoke-free:

1) Get Enough Rest

When we’re tired and run down, cravings to smoke will seem stronger while we feel less able to manage them. Get enough sleep at night, and take a power nap during the day if you can.

Getting Quality Sleep When Stressed

2) Reduce Caffeine

Many of us reach for a cup of coffee when we need an energy boost, but too much caffeine can leave us feeling jittery and stressed. Avoid extra cups of coffee to stay awake. Rest if you’re tired.

Is Caffeine Your Friend or Your Foe?

3) Drink Your Water

Not only is water a great craving-buster, it’s an essential ingredient in a healthy diet. Keep yourself well-hydrated and you’ll feel better in general, which will in turn help you manage holiday stress more easily.

Drinking Water to Maintain Good Health

4) Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

Enjoy holiday treats, but be sure to give your body the fuel it needs to function properly. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates will help keep you at your best, both physically and mentally.

Don’t Skip Breakfast!

5) Go For a Walk

Walking reduces stress and improves circulation. It also releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormone. So, when the urge to smoke strikes, head out for a quick walk around the block. You’ll come back refreshed and relaxed. If the weather is bad, use the treadmill or take a walk at an indoor mall.

Walking for Your Mind and Spirit

6) Don’t Forget Support

The support forum here at Smoking Cessation is a thriving, active community of people who are working to quit smoking. Stop in for some tips and encouragement to help you manage the holiday season smoke-free. You may sign in as a guest to browse and read posts from other quitters, or register (free) to post messages of your own.

Smoking Cessation Support Forum

7) Breathe!

Deep breathing is a quick way to reduce stress. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three and exhale through your mouth for a count of three. Repeat this for a few minutes, and the tension in your body will begin to fall away.

Deep Breathing for Nicotine Withdrawal

8) Schedule Time For Yourself

While you’re running around taking care of holiday tasks, be sure to schedule a little me time daily. Take a hot bath or spend a half hour in a quiet corner with a good book (or both!). Choose activities that replenish your energy and renew your spirit. Avoid a piling on of stress and you’ll find it easier to manage your holidays without reaching for a cigarette.

The Value of Rewards When You Quit Smoking

9) Have a Cup of Tea

It only takes a few minutes with a cup of tea and honey to feel the stress of the day begin to slip away. Choose herbal teas rather than those with caffeine. It’s a quick and easy way to rejuvenate yourself.

Top 5 Herbal Teas

10) Focus on Today

Use a daily list to help you organize tasks. Don’t overwhelm yourself by looking at the whole picture: Keep things simple and in the present moments of the day you have in front of you. You’ll be more efficient and less stressed.

The Power of Now

11) Don’t Strive for Perfection

We are often our own worst critics. You’re working hard to quit smoking, so give yourself permission to loosen your expectations a little for this holiday season. In other words, don’t try to do it all. Think instead in terms of what is good enough rather than stressing over every detail.

10 Telltale Traits of a Perfectionist

12) Take a Mini Mental Vacation

Close your eyes and create a place in your mind that you can visualize when you need to slow down and relax. Return to the same imaginary location every time so that it becomes familiar and comfortable. As you settle in, focus on your breathing, and slow it down gradually. Breathe deeply in and out for 3 to 5 minutes.

The Benefits of Meditation for Stress Management

13) Delegate

Enlist the help of others to complete holiday tasks. Involve family members and friends; they’re usually happy to help if asked.

Time Management for Holiday Stress Relief

14) Minimize and Simplify

It’s so easy to take too much on this time of year. Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish and prioritize them. Decide what things must be done, and what things could be let go if need be. Sometimes less is more!

How to Simplify Your Holiday Party

15) Avoid Financial Stress

Don’t threaten your smobriety with worries about money. Make a holiday budget and stick to it.

7 Tips for Holiday Budgeting

16) Remember Why You Quit Smoking

Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture during the holiday season. The reasons you quit smoking are as valid today as they were the day you quit. Take 5 minutes and refresh your memory by reading your list of reasons.

Why Should I Quit Smoking?

17) Acknowledge Your Grief

If you get the holiday blues, take steps to acknowledge and manage your feelings. Denial only makes holiday depression worse.

When Grief Comes Home for the Holidays

18) Call a Friend

Take a few minutes to connect with someone you care about. Your spirits will be lifted, and chances are you’ll lift theirs too.

How and Why You Should Maintain Friendships

19) Count Your Blessings

Spend some time reflecting on all of the things in your life that you’re grateful for. It’s a simple, yet powerful way to pull out of a slump and renew yourself.

The Gifts of Smoke-Free Living

20) Practice Makes Perfect

Smoking cessation is a process of gradual release over time. The associations we’ve built up between smoking and the activities in our lives over the years must be changed, one by one. And the only way to do that is by simply living life, day in and day out, smoke-free. Navigating the holidays minus the cigarettes is a necessary part of the journey.

Deciphering the Urge to Smoke

While this first smoke-free holiday season may feel uncomfortable or downright difficult at times, you’re working to cement new habits in place. Keep your focus and meet the challenges that come along with confidence. You can do this, and you’ll thank yourself when the holidays are behind you and you’re still smoke-free.

Have a great, smoke-free holiday season!

Smoking Rates During Pregnancy Highest Among Native Americans

By Tristan Ahtone, Fronteras Desk

Debora Cartagena, CDCSmoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general, as well as those inhaling “second hand” smoke.
Debora Cartagena, CDC
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general, as well as those inhaling “second hand” smoke.

Native Americans have the highest rates of smoking before, during and after pregnancy than any other ethnic group in the nation. That’s according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

According to the CDC, 55 percent of Native American women smoked before pregnancy. During pregnancy, that rate dropped significantly to 26 percent. However, that rate was still the highest of any racial or ethnic group in the nation.

“One out of two American Indian and Alaska Native women were smoking prior to pregnancy,” said Van Tong, an epidemiologist with the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health. “Only half of these women quit smoking by the last trimester of pregnancy.”

Tong says the reasons for these high rates aren’t well understood, but that more outreach needed to be done to get women to stop smoking while pregnant.

Smoking during pregnancy increases risks for complications including lower birth weights and babies more prone to health issues once their born.

E-cigarettes: New ‘smoke,’ same concerns

Sharon Salyer, The Herald

EVERETT — Laura Montejano is convinced that electronic cigarettes helped wean her off her long-standing pack-and-a-half-a-day smoking habit.

Even while standing in the middle of Tobacco Joe’s, an Everett Mall Way smoke shop, Montejano proudly proclaimed that it had been 104 days since her last cigarette.

Montejano, 37, from Woodinville, pointed to her phone ap that calculates exactly what cessation of $7-a-pack cigarettes has meant in her life — a savings of at least $728.

And with each cigarette typically taking about seven minutes to smoke, she’s freed up the equivalent of more than eight days of time.

“My kids are thrilled; I’m thrilled,” she said.

She credited her personal vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, with allowing her to quit. “Having this was such a huge thing,” she said.

The tubular, battery-driven machine has a small tank of nicotine-laced liquid. When someone takes a draw, it creates a puffy white cloud.

It looks similar enough to smoking that questions are being raised both locally and in other parts of Washington: Is this non-tobacco activity banned under the state’s tough indoor smoking ban?

Both Pierce and King counties treat e-cigarettes like regular cigarettes, passing ordinances specifically banning their use indoors in public places.

“Prior to this, we were getting complaints from bars and restaurants having clients using these products in their business,” said Scott Neal, a tobacco prevention manager for Public Health — Seattle and King County.

If a customer saw someone across the room exhaling a plume from their e-cigarette, they might mistakenly believe that regular smoking was allowed, he said. “It became a problem for bar owners,” Neal said.

Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer for the Snohomish Health District, said the agency interprets current bans on smoking in public places to include e-cigarettes.

“We’re advising restaurant and bar owners that they should not be permitting use of these devises in their premises,” he said.

Goldbaum said he will likely recommend that the health district’s board consider taking action specifically banning indoor e-cigarette use in public places.

“We believe it would be helpful to have a local ordinance that clearly defines that so there’s no question,” he said.

To date, the state hasn’t taken any action to regulate e-cigarettes except to prevent their sale to anyone under the age of 18, said Tim Church, a state Department of Health spokesman.

“Right now, local jurisdictions seem to be taking this on and coming up with regulations and ordinance that work for their communities,” Church said.

Questions have been raised over whether e-cigarettes are perceived as a safe alternative to smoking.

“There’s a lot of unknowns about these electronic cigarettes,” Goldbaum said. “We honestly don’t know if they’re harmful and if so, how harmful they may be.”

The few studies that have been done on the products show that some carcinogens or toxins can be detected at very low levels in the vapors, he said.

That raises questions about long-term health effects for the user, or vapor, and second-hand exposure, Goldbaum said.

Yet even Goldbaum acknowledges that e-cigarettes almost certainly pose less health risk than tobacco-filled cigarettes

Annie Peterson, who works as a healthy communities specialist for the Snohomish Health District, said she has concerns that if e-cigarettes are promoted as harmless, “that’s a big draw for youth.”

Peterson said she’s also questions whether some of the candy-like flavoring and labeling of the nicotine liquids used in e-cigarettes, with names such as bubblegum, could also be subtle attempts at marketing to teens.

Kids may not realize that nicotine addiction can occur with e-cigarettes, too, she said.

Nevertheless, sales of e-cigarettes is growing rapidly, with the products available online and at area retailers.

Jeremy Wilson, 33, a Naval officer stationed in Hawaii, and his wife, Elizabeth Wilson, 32, who served in the naval reserves, have announced plans to open an e-cigarette business in the Everett Mall next month.

Joe Baba, owner of Tobacco Joe’s, said the store first began offering e-cigarettes in January, initially just with disposable e-cigarettes and later expanding to reusable vapors.

“I found myself in the middle of a landslide of demand, being one of the only retailers in the Everett area,” he said.

The store has a “vapor bar,” where customers can have free samples of more than 20 flavors of “juice” as nicotine containers are known.

Starter kits can be purchased for $34.99. The most expensive vapors, with longer battery life, sell for $150. The vapors can be adjusted so that consumers “can choose their level of nicotine down to zero,” Baba said.

Baba said a number of customers have said they’ve been able to convert from cigarette smoking to vaping. “It’s a real joy to see,” he said.

Baba said the switch from traditional to e-cigarettes reminds him or the evolution of technology, “like cell phones versus land lines.

“For the first time in 200 to 300 years,” he said, “cigarettes finally have some real competition.”

Hookah lounge can’t allow indoor smoking

Judge rules in favor of Snohomish Health District
Snohomish County Health District
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Hookah lounges are just like bars, restaurants and other businesses when it comes to the state law that prohibits smoking indoors.
Washington’s Smoking in Public Places law, or SIPP, was passed by voters in 2005 and prohibits smoking in public places and places of employment.
On Feb. 26, following a two-day trial in Snohomish County Superior Court, downtown Everett’s Hideout Hookah Lounge, also known as the Wetmore Café, was ordered to comply with the law by prohibiting indoor smoking by its patrons. In addition, the court levied fines of $89,100 against the business owners for “intentionally and repeatedly” violating the law after numerous warnings and an official Health Officer’s Order from the Snohomish Health District, which brought the lawsuit. The fine was based on $100 per day per violation..
A hookah is a glass pipe filled with water that is used for smoking flavored tobacco, often by several people at once. Hookah is a growing trend that has the attention of public health because it attracts young people to a dangerous habit.
“Smoke is smoke,” testified Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. Gary Goldbaum. “Hookah tobacco may smell sweet and be cheaper than cigarettes, but it is no less harmful or addictive. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.
“We are glad this ruling makes it clear that hookah is not a potential business opportunity – it’s an unhealthy behavior that people can choose to do in private, but they can’t expose other people to it,” Goldbaum said.
Health District staff made several initial visits to the Hideout Hookah Lounge in February 2012, shortly after the business opened as the first of its kind in Snohomish County. Staff attempted to educate the
owners about SIPP requirements such as prohibiting indoor smoking, smoking at least 25 feet from doors, windows and air intakes, and posting “no smoking” signs which were provided by the Health District. City of Everett police and the state Liquor Control Board were also involved in seeking to enforce the state’s no indoor smoking ban
The court determined that smoking in the Hideout Hookah Lounge resulted in smoke permeating adjoining public uses within the building, directly in violation of SIPP’s goal of protecting people from secondhand smoke. The ruling also established that charging a membership fee or providing a membership card does not make the Lounge a private club. In addition, since it was established that the Hideout Hookah Lounge is a public place and a for-profit business, employees need to be protected from secondhand smoke under the SIPP law. Workers are defined as employees under state law even if they “volunteer” for no pay.
Thirteen follow-up inspection visits and numerous letters and notices directing the business to stop allowing indoor smoking were issued by the Health District before it filed the lawsuit in June 2012.
“It’s important that we provide a level playing field for all businesses that comply with the law,” explained Snohomish Health District Tobacco Program and Healthy Communities specialist Ann-Gale Peterson.
Snohomish Health District officials continue to work with county and city staff to ensure that potential business owners and code enforcement officers understand that SIPP prohibits smoking in all public places and in places of employment. 
“Our goal is to educate and gain compliance with businesses through cooperation,” Peterson said. “We always hope to avoid court action and consider it a last resort when all other options for enforcement have failed,” she continued.
To report SIPP violations or learn more about local tobacco programs, call the Snohomish Health District Tobacco Resource Line at 425.339.5237. The state Tobacco Quit Line may be reached at 1.800.QUITNOW (800.784.8669).
Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier Snohomish County through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health Board and the Health District at