A proposal from PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center for a tobacco-cessation program was unanimously approved Monday by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly.
The proposal calls for spending $550,000 from the borough’s tobacco tax over three years on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and tobacco-related healthcare services.
Prevention programs would include a media campaign and education to help keep people from smoking in the first place; cessation services would include classes to help people quit smoking; and health-care services would provide screening and diagnostic care for patients who might have tobacco-related diseases.
Matt Eisenhower of PeaceHealth Foundation told the assembly that cessation assistance would include medication, which has been successful for many smokers.
“That’s probably the one area of service that’s done pretty well in our community already,” he said. “If somebody goes into a provider and said, ‘I’d like to quit smoking.’ Most of the providers, that’s well understood how to help them do that. There’s some creative ways to enhance that.”
Eisenhower said his intention for the program would include needs-based assistance, with outreach to shelters and the jail.
Also Monday, the assembly postponed voting on a proposed commercial trail on borough-owned land, which would be leased for use as a tour. Assembly Member Stephen Bradford said it’s not clear on the map provided where the trail would be. He also was concerned that the trail would be off-limits to the public when tours were taking place.
The proposed trail is near the Pipeline Trail, which is a popular spot for people to walk, often with their dogs. In the proposal, the new trail would be open to the public only if no tours were taking place.
The proposal will come back to the Assembly at its Oct. 1st meeting.
In other matters, the assembly approved $115,000 to partially fund the Saxman totem pole re-carving effort. That money will come from the borough’s share of state cruise head-tax funds. Saxman officials were encouraged to explore a grant opportunity through the cruise lines to fund the remainder of the $220,000 project.
The assembly also directed borough management to provide a sheltered smoking area at Ketchikan International Airport that complies with the new state anti-smoking ordinance, which takes effect in early October