Tobacco Free North Dakota announces its first annual Video Essay Scholarship Contest for all ND High School Seniors.

Tobacco Free North Dakota announces its first annual Video Essay Scholarship Contest for all ND High School seniors. TFND is a statewide non-profit that advocates for policies to prevent youth initiation to tobacco and nicotine products with the goal of creating North Dakota’s first tobacco free generation. We hope this scholarship contest encourages youth to youth education and advocacy, while providing TFND an opportunity to recognize and reward those efforts.
Tobacco Free ND Video Essay Scholarship Contest
Here’s how it works!
1. Create a 1–3 minute YouTube video based on one of these Tobacco Free ND topics.
• The True Cost of Tobacco/Nicotine
• How Does Tobacco/Nicotine Affect Me/How Would Tobacco Affect Me?
• Why I stay Tobacco/Nicotine Free!
2. Email your YouTube video entry by April 15, 2018 to A committee will select the top five videos, which will then be displayed at and voted on by the public May 1-11, 2018. (Tell your friends to vote!) The winner will be announced May 18, 2018.
3. The winner will receive a $1,000 college scholarship! TFND will present the prize and take photos with the winner prior to the end of the school year.
• Must be a ND high school senior who will be attending college in fall 2018.
• Create a short 1–3 minute YouTube video relating to Tobacco. (Please introduce yourself in the video)
• The Tobacco Free North Dakota Board and/or judging committee has the right to disqualify videos deemed unacceptable or inappropriate.
• Deadline for submission: April 15, 2018.
• Video participants agree and authorize TFND, or anyone authorized by TFND, the use of any and all images that have been taken of the participant and/or friends/family without compensation to the participant. Participants agree that the TFND may use such videos with or without the participant’s name for any lawful purpose, including purposes of publicity, illustration, advertising and web content.
• Emailing your submission acts as your signature to agreement to the terms and conditions of this contest.
• The winning video becomes the property of TFND. In order to receive the scholarship, the winner will submit the video file.
Send all Questions and Entries by April 15, 2018 to: Heather Austin,
The mission of Tobacco Free North Dakota is to improve and protect the public health of all North Dakotans by reducing the serious health and economic consequences of tobacco use, the state’s number one cause of preventable disease and death.

Letter: Keep tobacco firms away from kids

by Stephen McDonough, published Apr 23, 2017 in the Bismarck Tribune
The fight to protect our kids from tobacco is facing new threats both here in North Dakota and in Congress.
Our state lawmakers voted to eliminate BreatheND — also known as the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy — which has helped cut youth cigarette smoking in half since its creation in 2008.
In Congress, tobacco companies are pushing legislation that would greatly weaken Food and Drug Administration rules to protect kids from electronic cigarettes and cigars — products that threaten to hook a new generation and undermine the enormous progress we’ve made. Tobacco companies have introduced a huge assortment of candy-flavored e-cigarettes and cigars, making them wildly popular with kids.
To keep making progress against tobacco, our federal lawmakers must ensure the FDA has the tools it needs to protect the nation’s kids.
Last year, the FDA took an important step by issuing new rules for cigars and e-cigarettes — including a nationwide ban on sales to minors. However, instead of supporting these efforts, Congress is considering two measures that would dramatically weaken FDA oversight of these products.
The first bill would make it far more difficult for the FDA to protect kids from e-cigarettes and cigars already on the market, including the many candy-flavored products introduced in recent years. The second would completely exempt “large and premium” cigars from FDA oversight — a category defined so broadly that it could be stretched to apply to low-cost, flavored cigars. Tobacco companies are working to include these proposals in a spending bill Congress must pass this month to keep the federal government running.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees FDA funding, should make certain that neither of these harmful proposals become law. Especially at a time when North Dakota has just lost the agency that helps prevent tobacco use, Hoeven and our other federal lawmakers must protect North Dakota’s kids and not weaken the FDA’s authority over e-cigarettes and cigars.
These proposals don’t make any sense considering the lure of these products to kids.
Today there are more than 7,700 different flavors of e-cigarettes and about 250 different flavors of cigars, with choices like gummy bear, peanut butter cup and cotton candy for e-cigarettes and lemonade, cherry dynamite and wild berry for cigars. Kids admit these flavors are appealing. Among current youth e-cigarette users, more than 80 percent say they are drawn by the available flavors, according to a government study. Nearly 75 percent of youth cigar smokers say the same thing.
It’s no surprise, then, that so many kids are using these products. Nationwide, use of e-cigarettes among high schoolers grew by a factor of 10 between 2011 and 2015, climbing to 16 percent, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey. Here in North Dakota, the problem is even worse: 22 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes compared to 12 percent who smoke regular cigarettes.
In addition, more high school boys in North Dakota now smoke cigars than cigarettes —13.2 percent compared to 11.9 percent for traditional cigarettes.
According to a 2016 report by the surgeon general, the nicotine in e-cigarettes is highly addictive and “can harm the developing adolescent brain.” The surgeon general also concluded, “E-cigarette use is strongly associated with the use of other tobacco products among youth and young adults, including combustible tobacco products.”
Cigar smoke, meanwhile, contains the same harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke, and has been shown to cause cancer of the lungs, esophagus, larynx and oral cavity.
By weakening FDA oversight of tobacco products that attract kids, the proposals before Congress pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of America’s youth. Hoeven should do all he can to stop them from being enacted into law.
Stephen McDonough is a Bismarck pediatrician.

Letter: Listen to Voters on Tobacco-Prevention Funding

Letter: Listen to voters on tobacco-prevention funding
By Sarah Odegard on Jan 5, 2017 Grand Forks Herald
When I cast my vote for North Dakota’s legislators, I expect they’ll bring my interests and values to the Capitol. But now that BreatheND’s funding is in under attack, I think maybe our legislators need a reminder about what the people want.
Here’s a hint: we want BreatheND!
I voted for Measure 3 seven years ago. This was the measure that dedicated a portion of the tobacco settlement dollars to support tobacco prevention and created BreatheND.
I voted for it because as a nurse, I’ve seen first-hand how tobacco ruins lives. The measure passed because the majority of North Dakotans believe tobacco prevention education saves lives and health care costs. As it turned out, we were right.
BreatheND has greatly reduced the number of young people and adults in North Dakota who use tobacco. Tobacco use still costs North Dakota $326 million a year in health care costs and $56.9 million a year in Medicaid costs. The work isn’t done yet, but think of how much we’ve saved by cutting youth smoking rates in half.
Voters get it. We have built momentum to make even more significant impacts on tobacco rates and save even more money on health care and insurance.
The 2015 North Dakota Public Opinion Survey says 90 percent of North Dakotans support continuing BreatheND. We stand by our vote, and legislators can’t ignore those numbers.
Now, we need our legislators to stand by us.
As representatives of our state, legislators must hear what the people want and follow through accordingly.
Hear us now.
Support Senate Bill 2024 to fully fund BreatheND and continue this important work.
Sarah Odegard
Reynolds, N.D.

Senate Bill Will Help Save Lives

Senate bill will help save lives
Jay Taylor, Durbin Jan 4, 2017 Bismarck Tribune
The most successful tobacco prevention program North Dakota has ever had is under fire. BreatheND’s budget is at risk during this legislative session and we must stand up for it.
Why? Because this program saves lives. Because I lost my own father to smoking. And because my 45 years working as a respiratory therapist tell me many of your readers have also lost a loved one or seen them suffer from tobacco-related health conditions.
I was passionate about my career in healthcare, but the more I worked to help patients recover the more I felt compelled to stop the thing that made so many of them sick in the first place.
Losing my 56-year-old dad to tobacco really put it all into perspective. We need a strong force in North Dakota to prevent tragedies like the one my family faced. If we do that, we all win. We can spare children the heartache of losing a parent, a sibling, or a friend.
BreatheND has proven it knows what it’s doing and does it well. The high school smoking rate has been cut in half since the program began seven years ago. Fewer adults smoke, too. BreatheND even got North Dakota highlighted in the Surgeon General’s 2016 report as a program to follow.
The country’s leading health professionals recognize how important tobacco prevention is. We need our legislators to do the same.
Support Senate Bill 2024 to fully fund BreatheND and save lives.