Shelly, who recently has received multiple kudos from national anti-smoking cigarettes advocates, faulted the legislation for lacking language he said was needed to emphasize the importance of protecting Navajo infants and children from the dangers of smoke cigarettes and tobacco usage.

In an Aug. 5 letter to Speaker Johnny Naize and the Navajo Nation Council, Shelly said, "I ran on a platform of health, education, economic prosperity, open government and technology. I re-pledge my commitment to protect our Navajo people from cancer or diseases caused by exposure to second hand smoke cigarettes or tobacco use."

The bill would have exempted casinos until all their construction debts were paid. At that point, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise would have to implement a smoking cigarettes ban at the direction of the Council.

Even with those considerations, "the passage of this legislation does not adequately address any given employees who are subjected to a smoking cigarettes workplace environment," Shelly said.

He emphasized the health problems caused by tobacco use, particularly from secondhand smoke.

"It is critical to acknowledge the reality of the health risk, proven by scientific evidence, and the reason why there is a need for a smoke-free policy," Shelly said. "Secondhand smoke cigarettes exposure can cause cancer, cardiovascular diseases in adults, and respiratory diseases in children and adults."

Shelly said he rejected the bill, approved during the Council's summer session, because it is the government's responsibility to protect the health of the people, especially those who cannot protect themselves.

Shelly noted that the smoking cigarettes bill did not clearly explain what constitutes "public places" and "reasonable distance."

As for ceremonial and traditional tobacco use, the legislation "leaves the door open for restricting traditional use for ceremonial purposes," he said.

The bill also does not explain how the gaming enterprise will work with the Navajo Nation's Division of Health to address public education and prevention.

Tip of the day: Nistru - check out this site.