North Dakota's legislature meets once every two years, and there was no session in 2012. Therefore; the work of the American Lung Association in North Dakota was focused at the local level to build capacity for strong laws to protect all workers from exposure to secondhand smoke. This resulted in four additional communities passing and implementing smokefree policies during 2012 bringing the total number to 11. In the community of Linton, the city council put a question on the ballot to advise them about public opinion on the issue. This resulted in a strong 67 percent of the voters saying they supported adopting a comprehensive smokefree ordinance.
After several years of trying to close the loopholes in North Dakota's current law and protect all workers in North Dakota from secondhand smoke in the state legislature, volunteers and advocates came together across the state to gather the required signatures to place the issue on the November 2012 ballot. The law required 13,452 signatures to qualify; volunteers gathered over 20,000 in a short six week time period and turned them into the Secretary of State ahead of the deadline.
The North Dakota Secretary of State announced in September 2012 that enough valid signatures had been turned in, and the measure, designated Measure 4, would appear on the November ballot. And on November 6th, voters in North Dakota overwhelmingly passed one of the strongest laws in the nation with 66 percent voting "Yes" on Measure 4. The new law prohibits smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces, including the use of e-cigarettes, and keeps smoking 20 feet from entrances. The law received a majority of votes in every county and every precinct in the state.
The American Lung Association in North Dakota will continue to support the new comprehensive statewide smokefree law as it is implemented across the state, along with supporting a significant increase in the tobacco tax. North Dakota ranks as one of the lowest states in the nation when it comes to the most effective strategy to prevent kids from starting to smoke and motivating smokers to quit.
|•||Economic Cost Due to Smoking:||$442,053,000|
|•||Adult Smoking Rate:||21.7%|
|•||High School Smoking Rate:||19.4%|
|•||Middle School Smoking Rate:||5.8%|
|•||Smoking Attributable Deaths:||877|
|•||Smoking Attributable Lung Cancer Deaths:||259|
|•||Smoking Attributable Respiratory Disease Deaths:||245|
Adult smoking rate is taken from CDC's 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking rate is taken from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System. Middle school smoking rate is taken from the 2011 Youth Tobacco Survey.