TFND Organizational History
Founded in 1985, TFND pursues a unique mission that directly supports the Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy’s Mission: Saving Lives—Saving Money: North Dakota’s Comprehensive State Plan to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco use 2009-14.
For the past 28 years, TFND has initiated, collaborated and/or supported an impressive string of life-saving tobacco-prevention policies, culminating in 2008 when TFND provided critical support for a months-long campaign that resulted in the history-making passage of Initiated Measure #3, which mandated establishment of the nation’s only statewide comprehensive tobacco control program funded at the level recommended by the CDC.
In 1987, TFND wrote and successfully supported passage of the ND Clean Indoor Act (HB 1272). The tobacco industry (and its allies in ND’s business and hospitality industries) reacted with significant and increased lobbying at subsequent sessions of the State Legislature, so TFND strategically expanded its focus to include supporting local policy efforts, which were highly successful: Ultimately, 31 new city tobacco control ordinances & tribal resolutions passed from 1990-2001. In 1993, TFND supported the successful state smoke-free daycares law. In 2005, working through partner organizations, many TFND members worked long and hard to support the successful passage of SB 2300, which expanded the 1987 law to provide protection from SHS in most (but not all) workplaces.
Most recently, in 2012, TFND helped lead a broad-based coalition in support of Initiated Measure #4 – creating smoke-free public and workplaces – on the 2012 General Election ballot. These efforts were clearly demonstrated when the measure passed with 67% of the vote and majority support in each of North Dakota’s 53 counties. Since that time, TFND commissioned a statewide poll of North Dakota voters in February 2013 showing increased support of this smoke-free law (up to 72%) since its passage and overwhelming public support (89%) to continue and maintain tobacco prevention funding as passed through Measure #3 in 2008.
TFND’s coalition-building and advocacy successes quickly enabled the organization to emerge as a national leader in the tobacco-free movement. TFND has partnered on policies and projects with organizations including: American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, ND Nurses’ Association, ND Dental Association, ND Dental Hygienists Association, March of Dimes, ND Medical Association, ND Association for Respiratory Care, ND Pharmacists Association, ND Farmers Union, ND Hospital Association, local public health boards, tobacco-prevention coalitions and faith-based organizations, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
TFND work is done in great thanks to grant funding provided from the Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy as well as the generous annual membership dues of coalition partners. Governance is provided by a Board of Directors consisting of seven individuals as elected by the membership at the TFND Annual Meeting, and staffing currently consists of one contracted consultant serving as TFND’s Executive Director, hired by and responsible to the Board.
Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement
Beginning in the mid 1990s, more than 40 states and some localities sued tobacco companies, alleging that the industry violated antitrust and consumer protection laws, withheld information about the adverse health effects of tobacco, manipulated nicotine levels to keep smokers addicted, and conspired to hold back less risky and less addictive tobacco products from the market.
In November 1998, four of the nation’s largest tobacco companies — Philip Morris Incorporated, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, and Lorillard Tobacco Company (referred to as the “original participating manufacturers”) — negotiated an agreement with the attorneys general of 46 states, including North Dakota, thereby settling a number of lawsuits. This agreement ($772.1 million to North Dakota alone) is known as the Master Settlement Agreement.
In the spring of 2007, long-time tobacco control advocates met to review the status of North Dakota’s public policy and expenditures related to tobacco prevention. This meeting was organized because North Dakota, once a national leader in tobacco prevention, had stopped its forward progress in preventing tobacco-related disease. Recognizing the increased dollars coming to North Dakota as a result of the strategic contribution fund payments, the increased resources made available to water development and education through increased oil extraction tax revenues and North Dakota’s growing budget surplus, advocates rightfully reasoned that North Dakota was in a unique position renew that forward progress and to save lives by initiating and implementing a comprehensive tobacco control program as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.)
Since the tobacco settlement was signed in 1998, tobacco advocates in North Dakota had attempted to work with the North Dakota State Legislature to appropriate a percentage of tobacco settlement dollars to fully-fund a CDC-based tobacco control program. Those efforts were unsuccessful even while public opinion polls revealed that North Dakota citizens appropriately believed that tobacco settlement dollars should be used for tobacco control. Based on these unsuccessful efforts within the North Dakota State Legislature and knowingly possessing clear public support, these advocates rallied with the public in August of 2007, filing an initiated measure to be placed on the General Election ballot in November 2008 to fully fund an effective tobacco prevention and control program.
Funding Tobacco Prevention: Initiated Statutory Measure No. 3 - November 2008 General Election Ballot Initiative
Since the tobacco settlement was signed in 1998, tobacco advocates in North Dakota had attempted to work with the North Dakota State Legislature to appropriate a percentage of tobacco settlement dollars to fully-fund a CDC-based tobacco control program. Those efforts were unsuccessful even while public opinion polls revealed that North Dakota citizens appropriately believed that tobacco settlement dollars should be used for tobacco control.
Based on these unsuccessful efforts within the North Dakota State Legislature and knowingly possessing clear public support, long-time tobacco control advocates met in the spring of 2007 to review the status of North Dakota’s public policy and expenditures related to tobacco prevention. In August of 2007, these advocates filed Initiated Measure No. 3 to be placed on the General Election ballot in November 2008 to fully fund an effective tobacco prevention and control program.
When the votes were tallied, 54% of North Dakota voters agreed that a portion of the Master Settlement Agreement be spent on tobacco prevention and control efforts, resulting in the creation of the Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy and requiring the North Dakota State Legislature fund these programs accordingly.
In February 2013, TFND commissioned a statewide poll, conducted by Keating Research, Inc., of 502 North Dakota 2012 General Election voters showing that support had risen to an overwhelming 89% of and continuation to fund these programs.
Smoke-free Law: Initiated Statutory Measure No. 4 - November 2012 General Election Ballot Initiative
Following years of legislative inaction to strengthen the state’s smoke-free ordinances even while public support mounted, TFND joined forces with coalition partners in drafting and circulating an initiated ballot measure placed on the November 2012 General Election ballot. If passed, this ballot measure, in short, would prohibit smoking, including the use of electronic smoking devices, in public places and most places of employment in the state, including certain outdoor areas.
Results of this ballot measure clearly displayed the level of public support when 66.67% of North Dakota voters chose to make North Dakota smoke-free effective December 6, 2012. A majority of each of North Dakota’s 47 counties as well as every legislative district voted in support of these efforts.
In February 2013, TFND commissioned a statewide poll, conducted by Keating Research, Inc., of 502 North Dakota 2012 General Election voters which reflected even stronger support – up to 72% – for the state’s new smoke-free laws post-implementation than three months prior at the ballot. TFND’s work into the future will include maintaining and keeping strong this publicly-supported smoke-free law.