North Dakota Voters Can Make Their State Smoke-Free
Voters should protect everyone’s right to breathe clean air
Posted by: Editor | Sep 5, 2012
North Dakota voters in November can deliver a big win for health by approving a statewide ballot initiative to require smoke-free workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars.
North Dakota Secretary of State Alvin Jaeger certified the smoke-free initiative for the November 6 ballot after a successful signature-gathering effort by the Smoke-Free North Dakota Campaign. It will be Ballot Measure 4.
The initiative aims to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air in North Dakota.
If the measure is approved, North Dakota would join 29 states, Washington, D.C., and more than 670 cities that have enacted strong smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars. All states surrounding North Dakota — Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota — are already smoke-free.
Polling has found that more than 70 percent of North Dakotans support going smoke-free. Reflecting this strong support, initiative supporters turned in more than 20,000 signatures, far more than the 13,452 needed to put the measure on the ballot. Many North Dakota cities have already enacted strong smoke-free laws, including Bismarck, Cavalier, Devils Lake, Fargo, Grand Forks, Linton, Lisbon, Munich, Napoleon, Pembina and West Fargo.
Measure 4 will protect all North Dakotans from harmful secondhand smoke.
- Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer.
- Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease in non-smoking adults. Among babies and children, it causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), low birth weight, respiratory and ear infections, and more severe asthma attacks.
- Secondhand smoke kills about 50,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The evidence is clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business.