North Dakota Grades Near Top Of Annual Tobacco Report

Bismarck, ND (January 22, 2014)

While North Dakota’s grades remained unchanged from last year’s American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control Report, they were good enough to be one of six states cited as “best states” for tobacco control.  The report comes on the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1964 Surgeon General’s report on tobacco. Last week, the Surgeon General’s 2014 report on tobacco was released. It concluded that tobacco use is even more deadly than it was 50 years ago (because of tobacco company manipulation of nicotine levels), and that smoking is now linked to colon cancer and diabetes, as well as a host of other diseases.

 North Dakota earned two “A” grades or funding state tobacco control and prevention programs above the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and for the comprehensive indoor smokefree law passed two years ago. In other areas, North Dakota’s grades fall off sharply: a “F’ grade for cigarette taxes (currently 44 cents per pack, among the lowest in the nation), and a “C” grade for helping state employees and North Dakotans on Medicare quit smoking.

 “It is important to know that tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the country.” said Penny Gottier Fena, executive director of the American Lung Association in North Dakota. “Yes, we have come a long way since 1964, but we have also paid a terrible price – at least 20 million Americans have died prematurely in the past 50 years because of smoking and secondhand smoke.  If we don’t make some changes soon, 5.6 million kids under age of 18 today will die prematurely during their adulthood because of smoking.”

A link to the complete report is available online at