Native Americans in Michigan Share their Commercial Tobacco Cessation Success Stories

SAULT STE. MARIE – Four Native Americans residing in Michigan have volunteered to share their success stories about giving up smoking cigarettes to lead a healthier lifestyle. 

Valorie Glazier of Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Kimberly Leapley and Jacques LeBlanc both of the Bay Mills Indian Community, and Christopher Polasky of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska working with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians each graciously opened up their stories about quitting commercial tobacco.

The call to action for these stories are to urge their Native American peers to never give up quitting smoking.  The focus is to call the American Indian Commercial Tobacco Program at 1-855-372-0037.  Native Americans in Michigan who call the AICTP can receive culturally tailored help and may receive free nicotine replacement therapy including gum and lozenges through May 31.

“40 percent of Native American adults in Michigan smoke cigarettes,” said Cathy Edgerly, Program Manager at Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan.

Edgerly continues “Quitting smoking can be difficult, but help is available.  Over 30 percent of callers to the AICTP stay quit after six months.  We hope these digital stories remind all that they should never give up their attempts to quit smoking.”

“Digital stories have been widely used to share the personal story of patients and individuals through public health,” said Mike Willette, Communication Specialist, Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan.

Willette continues “Typically, digital stories are shared on the internet and at presentations to showcase successes with a personal touch.  We are taking this idea and moving it to the next level with shortened 30 second PSAs to air on television and internet to support each three minute digital story.  We will be spreading the wealth of these wonderful stories throughout the year, focusing on one story per season.  We have made all four videos available to view at .  We would like to thank Valorie, Kimberly, Jacques, and Christopher for taking us into their personal lives to tell their story and encourage their peers to give up commercial tobacco.”

Valorie’s story talks about how she had given up smoking upon request of her daughter.  Kimberly’s story talks about how her health has improved after quitting smoking.  Jacques speaks on giving up smoking to be a bigger part of his children’s lives.  Christopher discusses giving up smoking after he had run into health problems.

Funding for this project came from the National Native Network, Michigan Tobacco Program, REACH Journey to Wellness, and the Three Fires Cancer Consortium programs.  The stories were filmed and edited by Northern Michigan company Lamphere Visuals of Gaylord, Michigan.

For more information, call 1-855-372-0037 or learn more at .


Photo Caption clockwise starting top left:  Valorie Glazier, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians; Kimberly Leapley, Bay Mills Indian Community; Christopher Polasky, Sitka Tribe of Alaska; Jacques LeBlanc, Bay Mills Indian Community each graciously volunteered their personal stories about how they each quit smoking.  They urge community members to never give up quitting smoking.  Call 1-855-372-0037 for help.

The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Inc. is a 501(C)3 non-profit corporation duly organized under a state charter filed April 16, 1968.  The agency represents all twelve federally recognized tribes in Michigan.  The agency is divided into several different divisions, including:  headstart; early headstart; health services; behavioral health; environmental services; child, family, and education services; and administration.  The agency employs approximately 160 employees. 35 of these employees are based in the agency’s central office in Sault Ste. Marie, while member tribes have offices and staff on site.  Visit to learn more about the agency. This program is funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services under grant number E20181713-00.

Media Contact:
Mike Willette
Communications Specialist
Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan
906-632-6896 x.110