Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signs proclamation declaring World No Tobacco Day in the Cherokee Nation on May 31.


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced the tribe’s “Keep it Traditional” campaign as part of the tribe’s anti-smoking, and anti-vaping Public Health and Wellness initiatives.

Chief Hoskin also signed a proclamation declaring May 31 as “World No Tobacco Day” in the Cherokee Nation joining a national effort. 

“We are continuously promoting all-around wellness for our Cherokee Nation citizens for a brighter future. Cherokee Nation has been investing and will continue to invest in Cherokee wellness, whether that looks like the wellness spaces, walking trails, behavioral health programs, health care, or other public health programs. We are always trying to better our citizens lives,” Chief Hoskin said. “With the announcement of the Keep it Traditional campaign, that is just an additional way for us to continue these efforts of overall wellness, as well as fighting against habitual tobacco use. Tobacco has been a traditional product for the Cherokee people for centuries, but we want to make sure that it’s used in the ways our ancestors wanted, and not in ways that are harmful.”

Within the next year, the tribe’s goal is to get more tribal citizens to stop smoking, dipping and vaping by offering more incentive-based courses, education, outreach and make programs more available to citizens. 

Chief Hoskin announced that the tribe will use funds from the Public Health and Wellness Fund Act, as well as the nearly $2 million that the tribe received from the e-cigarette settlement Juul for the following:

  • Increase the incentive from $50 to $150 for Cherokee Nation tribal government employees who take and complete Public Health’s smoking cessation class. These classes are offered in-person and virtually.
  • Within the next year, the tribe will launch a Cherokee Nation Public Health app. This app will help modify behavior and educate Cherokee teens on vaping use.
  • These funds were also used to hire a full-time Tobacco Prevention Program Coordinator, who attends at-large meetings to hand out quit kits and provide more information to at-large citizens about tobacco cessation.

Cherokee Nation Public Health will continue to explore new ideas to provide resources for citizens to quit tobacco in all forms. 

Cherokee Nation Public Health staff, as well as other Cherokee Nation leaders and a few Cherokee teens from across the reservation were present while Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signed a proclamation declaring May 31 as World No Tobacco Day in the Cherokee Nation.

According to Cherokee Nation Public Health, nationally, smoking rates have declined from 40 percent in the 1960s to 12.5 percent in 2020. Yet in Oklahoma, the rate remains much higher at 18.5 percent and within the Cherokee Nation, smoking prevalence is even greater, with Adair County at 24 percent and Cherokee County at 23 percent. Vape use is also on the rise, particularly among younger citizens.

“We will continue to open the door for opportunities for Cherokee citizens to make their lives healthier in every way. What a blessing it is to be able to give support to those who need help kicking the habit of tobacco,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “It’s important that Cherokee Nation citizens are healthy spiritually, mentally and physically. Taking the steps to change these habits, will improve the future of our nation exponentially. I’m proud of the progress we as a Nation are making in terms of public health and the emphasis we put on overall wellness.” 

Across the Reservation, Cherokee Nation Public Health Educators were also set up at the tribe’s health centers and communities to provide citizens with resources on tobacco cessation in observance of World No Tobacco Day.