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Montana Churches Celebrate “Smokefree Sabbath”

November 21, 2008

Helena, MT – More than 50 Montana churches are celebrating a Smoke Free Sabbath weekend. Messages about the health threat of secondhand smoke will be heard from the pulpit, or congregation meetings, at churches throughout the state.

The Reverend Jim Shelden is a chaplain at St. Peter's Hospital and Hospice in Helena, and is a member of Faith United Against Tobacco. He sees first-hand the destruction of tobacco, not only for smokers, but those affected by secondhand smoke.

"We find a pretty significant health care cost, not to mention suffering, that's associated with tobacco smoking. And, it's a preventable thing."

Churches also can play a role in helping those addicted find faith to make a plan to quit, according to Rev. Sheldon.

"We’ll be asking the kind of questions, 'how can we support each other?' And, 'Would you like to quit? Have you been thinking about it? How can we help you do that?'"

Montana's Clean Indoor Air Act requires most workplaces to be smoke-free. Bars and casinos will have to follow the law in a year. Some in the hospitality industry say smoke-free laws hurt business and lead to job losses.

Details on Smokefree Sabbath events in Montana at
www.faithunitedagainsttobacco.org.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - MT