North Dakota

Recent Updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress
2/3/2017 – House Bill 1312 fails to pass House floor reading (22 yea-68 nay)
1/16/2017 – House Bill 1312 introduced by Representative Pamela Anderson; the bill would raise the minimum legal sales age of all tobacco products from 18 to 19. – While not as effective as age 21, age 19 shows an effort by legislators in the state to promote youth health outcomes. Contact your representative to let them know you support raising the age to 21!

North Dakota currently has an above average rate of high school smoking, and an above average rate of adult smoking. North Dakota has shown its dedication to lowering these percentages, as the state spends 110.e% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, the highest in the country again in 2017.

There are still an estimated 14,000 children now under the age of 18 who eventually die early due to smoking, with 300 children becoming daily smokers each year. The result is an annual health care cost of $326 million that is directly caused by smoking, and another $232.6 million in lost productivity.

There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. Local governments are free to enact ordinances to better protect their kids from addiction. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders. Statewide, California and Hawaii’s laws both began at the local level where powerful tobacco industry lobbyists have little sway. We encourage you to talk to your local city council person, county council member or board of health leader. Local champions have largely driven this movement in non-preempted states. Your voice is more influential than you think. Constituents are an impetus for change at the community and statewide levels. Garner interest around Tobacco 21 at the local and state level by communicating with your local legislators through phone calls, emails, and testimony at local government meetings.

For more information, you may contact:

Eric Brodell
Western Region Director
Tobacco 21
Eric.Brodell@Tobacco21.org

Jodi Radke
Director, Rocky Mountain / Great Plains Region
Tobacco Free Kids
JRadke@Tobaccofreekids.Org

or visit our sources:

Tobacco Free Kids North Dakota: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association State Report Card: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information North Dakota: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”


The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

We welcome your comments and suggestions: Contact Us