ND Receives Low Grades On American Lung Association’s Tobacco Report
The report is from the American Lung Association's annual "State of Tobacco Control" report.
NORTH DAKOTA – One of the lowest grades were given for the state’s tobacco tax, which is only 44 cents per pack.
“We received an F in our tobacco tax. We are the fourth lowest state as far as tobacco tax goes in our nation, and that’s important because we talk about raising the price of tobacco, we do a lot of education in raising the tax on tobacco, and raising it really is, it is known to have, to cut down on people using tobacco,” says Melissa Markegard, the Tobacco Prevention Coordinator at Fargo Cass Public Health.
The state also received a D on coverage and access to services to quit tobacco.
Local health officials say this result might be slightly inaccurate.
“We have a lot of entities that receive cessation grants. We also here at Fargo Cass Public Health has a program called “Break away from nicotine” that can help people who are interested in quitting. North Dakota Department of Health also has a phone counseling service which is very common to most people it is called ND quits,” she says.
North Dakota also got an average score on funding for state tobacco prevention programs.
The Lung Association says the state does have a lot of programs, but it needs to find better ways to let them know how to access them.
“When funding decreases in the state,It’s not that we don’t have resources available. What are we doing to drive people to those resources. What are we doing to support people, so that they know what’s available,” says Becky Anderson, the Spokesperson for the American Lung Association.
For North Dakota to improve, the organization recommends raising the tobacco tax, restricting access to all flavored tobacco products and providing more efforts into the availability of programs to help people quit.
The North Dakota House failed to pass a bill to increase the state’s tobacco tax last year. The state has not raised it since 1993.