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'Breathe ND' director says she was 'taken by surprise' by proposal to eliminate the agency


(December 19, 2016)

A proposal in former Gov. Jack Dalrymple's executive budget would eliminate the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy agency -- also known as "Breathe ND."

It would move the functions into the state Health Department.

"To totally eliminate an agency that has seen such incredible results in almost cutting youth smoking in half took us by surprise," said agency director Jeanne Prom.

The agency was created in 2008 after North Dakota voters passed an initiated measure. It is funded by the master tobacco lawsuit settlement.

"We're sustainable on those funds," Prom said in an interview. "We only focus on tobacco use prevention and a comprehensive approach -- policies that change social norms around tobacco. And that's what's known to be effective. It's science based -- and we've seen the results."

Prom said youth smoking rates in North Dakota have dropped to 11.7 percent. That compares with 22.4 percent in 2008 She said her agency focuses on tobacco prevention – while the state Health Department focuses on cessation.

"It's really aided greatly by a strong and rigorous prevention program that we have been able to offer," Prom said.

Prom said North Dakota is one of a few states that is able to fund its tobacco prevention and cessation programs at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. She said she hopes to convince the Legislature to keep the agency in-tact.

Full article available on Prairie Public News

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