Navajo tribe approves ban on commercial tobacco

Albuquerque, New Mexico (AP) 8-08

The Navajo Nation Council has approved a ban on commercial tobacco in public places on its vast reservation – including such outdoor venues as rodeos and fairs.

The measure would ban cigarettes and chewing tobacco – but not tobacco used in ceremonies for traditional or religious purposes – on the reservation across parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The reservation is about the size of West Virginia.

Legislation sponsor Thomas Walker Jr. says delegates approved the measure 42-27 July 25.

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. has 10 days to sign or veto the law once it reaches his desk.

Violators could be fined $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $500 for the third or possible community service.