North Dakota Smoke-Free Law Stays Intact, Protecting Health and Lives

Statement from Deb Knuth, North Dakota Government Relations Director with American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

February 13, 2019

Bismarck, ND - February 13, 2019   “After weeks of airing our urgent concerns, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) thanks the North Dakota Senate for voting down legislation today that would have reversed important public health gains in the state by exempting cigars from the state’s smoke-free protections. Today is certainly a day for everyone concerned about protecting public health to celebrate.

“North Dakota’s critical smoke-free law prohibits smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants. Recently, Senate Bill (SB) 2137 was introduced to try to exempt cigar bars from the smoke free law, jeopardizing the health of workers and residents.

“Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death in our state. North Dakotans showed their strong support for smoke-free workplaces when they passed the 2012 clean indoor air law because they know secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard. No one should have to risk their health to earn a paycheck, no matter where they work.

“ACS CAN is pleased that the Senate didn’t cave to special interests by putting profits above public health. We thank senators for overwhelmingly voting down SB 2137 by a 30 to 17 floor vote. We will all breathe more easily now that North Dakotans won’t be exposed to additional cancer-causing toxins found in secondhand smoke. 

“Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including at least 69 known to cause cancer. The science is clear—there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.  Smoke-free laws are the most economic and effective way to protect the public, and it is a major victory that this statewide law was not weakened.

“Tobacco-related illnesses are the leading preventable cause of death in this country. That’s why ACS CAN advocates for smoke-free policies that ensure everyone is protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Volunteers work tirelessly to ensure everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air.


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

# # #

More Press Releases AboutSmoke-free, North Dakota

Media Contacts

Deb Knuth
North Dakota Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Mandan, ND