Bill Would Compensate Businesses For Costs Of Smoking Ban Out Of Tobacco Prevention Budget


When voters created North Dakota’s tobacco prevention fund back in 2008 they may not have realized that the fund, and the board managing it, could use their revenues for lobbying and political activism, up to and including pushing initiated measures. Now we’re living with the consequences of that decision. With the full force of the tobacco board’s funding behind the campaign, the state passed a measure last year to implement a statewide smoking ban.

Unfortunately, that ban is now having a serious impact on business owners. They may not be much we can do about the ban driving customers away from businesses which cater to the tobacco trade (such as the cigar bar owner I interviewed earlier this week, but Rep. Blair Thoreson is asking that the tobacco prevention committee use its budget to compensate business owners for the expenses associated with implementing the ban up to and including the cost of new signage.

From the bill, which is HB1253:

The owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of a public place or place of employment where smoking is prohibited by this Act may submit receipts to the executive committee of the tobacco prevention and control advisory committee for reimbursement of actual costs incurred by the owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of the public place or place of employment in complying with the signage and enforcement requirements of subsection 1.

The costs associated with implementation are not insignificant. Signs, policy changes, etc. all cost money. If we’re going to saddle business owners with these sort of ridiculous, unnecessary regulations the least we could do is ask that the anti-tobacco gestapo defray the expenses for them.

And if they have less money to push their ridiculous anti-smoking crusade, all the better.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • WOOF

    Cardiac surgeons, electric wheelchair mfgs, pulmonary doctors and numerous prescription drug companies are also being impoverished by loss of income.

    Make the do gooders pay.

    • Rob

      Well, yeah, smoking is unhealthy. Which is why we should tie health care costs to the individual instead of collectivizing them like you liberals are for.

      Because collectivizing them gives us the excuse to regulate everyone’s behavior for the common good.

      No thanks.

      • WOOF

        No rents for proprietors of dens of diseases.

        Health care is collectivized because it is too expensive and inefficient for individuals to shoulder. Steve Jobs worked for $1 a year ,a bunch of Apple stock, a kick ass big jet and HEALTH INSURANCE.

        • Thresherman

          Yeah, cause all billionaires are not self-insured.

          • WOOF

            Why would they be self insured ? Insurance is too good a deal to pass up, especially for high income workers. Premiums are paid pre-tax.

        • rockjock

          Health care is too expensive because it’s government protected cartel and competition is not allowed and/or regulations are too expensive for competition to inject itself. All government entities, pensions etc are invested in the cartels stock. There are few if any market forces. This is your problem, not the shoulders of individuals.

  • Thresherman

    Anti-smoking Nazis will begin to scream that this bill is unfair in 5, 4, 3 …

    • SusanBeehler

      It is fair if you are a liberal and you think government should provide for your business.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    The solution to bad laws is not more bad laws to compensate for them. In this state, we do have ballot measures. The people have spoken, let them reap what they have sewn. Don’t try to ameliorate the consequences of their choices. Let the voters feel the sting of their choices.

    Sadly we can’t vote the people out of office the way we can vote the politicians out of office. But, this is the price we pay for direct democracy.

    • SusanBeehler

      I agree with you Waski

  • SusanBeehler

    What happened to free markets? Now we have subsidized yet another business? Where are is all the conservative outrage?