Statewide Smoking Ban Approved in North Dakota

(November 9, 2012)

 Bismarck, ND - The American Lung Association in North Dakota is pleased to share in the celebration of Tuesday’s vote, which resulted in the Smokefree North Dakota ballot initiative passing in every precinct of the state. More than 66 percent of the 313,000 North Dakotans who voted approved the statewide smoking ban, making it the 29th state in the country to go smokefree. The Lung Association worked closely with Tobacco-Free North Dakota, AARP, March of Dimes, the Farmer’s Union and many other partners to raise awareness of the issue, recruit volunteers and gather signatures to put the smoking ban on the ballot.

Hundreds of volunteers throughout the state gathered 22,000 signatures in just five weeks, surpassing the 14,000 required to put the ban on the ballot. “This was an organic, grassroots event,” said Penny Fena, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in North Dakota. “Hundreds of volunteers throughout the state said ‘we want this and we’re going to make it happen’.” A total of 46 supporting organizations signed a resolution of support for the ballot initiative.

Harold Wimmer, CEO of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest stated, “We are incredibly excited that North Dakota has passed the smoking ban, especially during November, which is Lung Cancer and COPD Awareness Month. We know the positive impact this ban will have on the health of North Dakotans and the healthcare cost savings that will be realized.” The last state in the country to approve a smoking ban was Wisconsin, which went smokefree in 2009.