The Air is Life Act (Niłch’ éí Bee Ííńá) is a comprehensive commercial tobacco bill that seeks to protect the quality of indoor air in all Navajo Nation public spaces, including places of employment such as Tribal casinos. The Air is Life Act must be heard and voted on in several of the Council’s standing committees before it’s a public health law that covers over 27,000 square miles within the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo Nation’s Health, Education and Human Services Committee (HEHSC) voted in favor of the Air is Life Act on August 25, 2021, without exemptions. Policy sponsor and Council Delegate, Daniel Tso, presented several ANR Foundation resources to the HEHSC Committee on behalf of policy proponents Dr. Patricia Henderson and Hershel Clark.
Navajo Nation Council leader, Delegate Thomas Walker, stated, “[This bill] is coming straight from the communities. The public certainly has the right to ask their leaders to make or change laws that affect or benefit their health.”
On September 13, 2021, the Air is Life Act progressed through the Navajo Nation Law and Order Committee (3-0-1) without exemption. The bill will now move to its third committee, the Resource and Development Committee, in which Delegate Thomas Walker is the Vice Chair.
Currently, the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation participates in regular advocacy meetings, develops and collects pertinent resources, co-hosts webinars, produces mini videos, and drafts media letters in support of the Navajo Nation comprehensive commercial tobacco policy and policy proponents.