Even After Statewide Smoking Ban, North Dakota’s Anti-Smoking Officials Launch New Campaign

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Just in case you were operating under the delusion that North Dakota’s tobacco prevention board wasn’t just state-sponsored prohibitionism:

The Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy (the Center) has launched a marketing campaign aimed at preventing tobacco use in North Dakota. The ad addresses the $247 million price tag North Dakota taxpayers pay each year for tobacco-related diseases.

The campaign began three weeks after a statewide smoke-free law that eliminates secondhand smoke in indoor public places took effect on December 6. Over 66 percent of North Dakotans voted in favor of the new smoke-free law in November. Jeanne Prom, executive director for the Center, said the smoke-free law was an important victory in the fight against harms caused by secondhand smoke, but there is still a lot of work to be done to reduce and prevent tobacco use across the state.

“The smoke-free law is a big step in protecting the people of North Dakota from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke,” Prom said. “Now, we have to continue to work to expose the harms of tobacco because tobacco companies continue to successfully get our youth and young adults addicted to their deadly products and turn them into lifetime tobacco users.”

I’m waiting for the day when these bunch of state-sponsored busybodies go full-Carrie Nation and beginning taking hatchets to smoke shops.

It seems to me that the mission of the state tobacco prevention board (per a ballot measure passed in 2008, this group is an official part of the state government funded by the state’s share of the tobacco class action lawsuit settlement) is over. We’ve banned smoking in all places open to the public, and in all businesses that have employees. You can’t even smoke outside unless you’re a lengthy distance from a door or window into a building open to the public.

Really, the only place left where North Dakotans can smoke is their homes. So why is this group still campaigning?

Because it was never about protecting non-smoking. It was always about the eradication of tobacco entirely.

Which really has no place in a free society. After all, we’ve all been inundated with the facts about smoking and the health risks that go along with it. There is no American today who is ignorant of the fact that tobacco use is bad for them. If Americans choose to use tobacco anyway, being fully aware of the risks, shouldn’t that be their right?

Not in the eyes of these prohibitionists. They would deny us our individual right to choose, for our own good. In the past the anti-smoking folks argued that they merely wanted to protect non-smokers in restaurants, bars and their places of work from second hand smoke. We’ve done that, and now as they continue their campaign their true motives are revealed.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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