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The Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre is challenging Indigenous communities to install blue lights to deter smoking in homes.

The communities of Little Pine, Moosomin, Mosquito, Poundmaker, Red Pheasant and Sweetgrass First Nations are all competing in this year’s Blue Light Community Challenge. The challenge is meant to encourage people to think of the effects of second and third-hand smoke has on their children and loved ones.

The community with the highest percentage of homes donning blue lights will be named the winner by the health centre.

“Community members will pick up blue bulbs and put them in their homes to indicate that their homes are smoke-free,” said Gift Madojemu, a health promotion specialist and tobacco product coordinator for the health centre.

“When babies are exposed to second or third-hand smoke, it affects their lungs because their lung capacity isn’t as strong as ours as an adult, so they are more susceptible to respiratory diseases and infections.”

Madojemu noted that rooms that have been smoked in can be hazardous to people’s health.

“The toxins can stay in the drapes, the walls and the furniture. So when people come in the home and there is no smoking going on, currently they are still exposed to the toxins that can lead to cancer,” said the specialist.

To finish the campaign, the health centre is planning “Blue Winter” events in each of the participating communities.

The events will be meant to bring the community together, with a brief presentation from an elder on the dangers of smoking in homes.