TFND Announces Special Edition of Video Essay Scholarship Contest

In honor of the 10th anniversary of the passage North Dakota’s Smoke-Free Air Law, Tobacco Free North Dakota is announcing a special version of our 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. North Dakota High school seniors will have the opportunity to compete for a $1500 college scholarship. To participate students must submit a 1-3 minute video based on topics chosen by TFND. The contest is open to all high school seniors. This edition’s topics are:

• The importance of maintaining the state’s strong smoke-free air law.

• The smoke-free air law has been in place for 10 years! Many of the entrants in this contest probably don’t remember the “singers in a smoky room” restaurants. Interview your family, friends, and community members about what it was like when there was smoking in public, indoor spaces.

• Every single county voted in favor of the smoke-free air law in 2012, yet special interest groups are the ones trying to overturn it. How would you educate the community about what is going on?

• Secondhand smoke is dangerous to everyone exposed to it, and causes billions of dollars in healthcare costs nationally every year, yet it receives only a fraction of the attention that other tobacco dangers do. Show us why #SecondhandSmokeisNoJoke


To read more about the contest rules, please read our SMOKE-FREE AIR LAW VESC Contest Packet

TBIJ: Philip Morris Misleading the Public About Nicotine in Heated Tobacco

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism released a new report showing heated tobacco products from Philip Morris has significantly more nicotine than previously thought. The product claims to have 0.5 milligrams of nicotine per stick, but testing showed it has 4 mg of nicotine per stick. To read the full analysis, click here.

TFND Webinar Series 8-24

Badlands Symposium Materials

Here are the slideshows from the Badlands Symposium presentations. Each can be accessed by clicking on the name:

Badlands Symposium_Pharmacist Providers

Badlands Symposium_TFND_SmokeFreeAirLaw and This Is Quitting

Badlands Symposium_Behavioral Health

Big Tobacco Pushes “Cash for Vape” In Australian Pharmacies

News broke that big tobacco companies are trying to push a “Cash for Vape” program with Australian pharmacists to encourage them to prescribe and distribute vaping devices and product. This is an incredibly devious plan and further proves that vaping is big tobacco in digital form. To read the response from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), click here.

New CDC Data Shows Costs of Tobacco in North Dakota

New CDC data shows that the cost of smoking nationally was more than $184 billion, including costs of $465 million in North Dakota. This is a first of its kind study to provide a detailed estimate to the costs of smoking. To read the study and appendix, follow the links below.

Appendix_Cost of Smoking-Attributable Productivity Losses, U.S., 2018

Cost of Cigarette Smoking-Attributable Productivity Losses, U.S., 2018

Watch our Latest Webinar Series Entry from July 21, 2022

Members of US House, Senate Send Letters in Support of Menthol Ban

It is exciting to see so many members of Congress taking the menthol ban actions seriously and standing with us. Attached are two letters sent from various members of Congress to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We strongly support the FDA moving forward with a ban on menthol flavored products. These products disproportionately affect minority communities and make quit attempts less likely to be successful.

US Senate Letter on Menthol Proposed Rules

Congressional Black Caucus Menthol Letter

TFND Submits Comment to FDA Regarding Menthol Ban

TFND submitted a comment to the FDA during the public comment period for the proposed menthol flavor ban. TFND supports this action as more and more research is showing how menthol is making it harder for those smoking cigarettes to quit, as well as menthol having a long history of targeting the African-American community. Below is the comment we submitted for the FDA’s review.

“We thank the FDA for coming forward with this rule. Flavored tobacco products present a
monumental risk to the next generation of children. Tobacco Free North Dakota is a statewide
nonprofit based in Bismarck, North Dakota, with a mission of improving and protecting 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. The proposed
rule regarding menthol flavoring is a good start, but we believe it can be improved by changing
menthol restrictions from the “characterizing flavor” level to the “additive” level.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among other government
sources, menthol is an additive in almost every cigarette. Only 37 percent of the cigarettes sold
in the United States contained enough menthol to be designated at the “characterizing flavor”
level. Menthol flavoring adds a cooling sensation for the user and helps mask the harshness of
tobacco. By changing the rule to address menthol as an additive, it would affect nearly all
commercial cigarettes, significantly increasing the potential public health impact.

A 2020 study printed in Addictive Behaviors Reports analyzed the flavored-tobacco sales ban in
San Francisco, California and the effect of tobacco product use on 18-34 year-olds. The city
enacted this ban in 2019, which included menthol cigarettes. The analysis showed that the sales
ban on flavored products reduced the use of all flavored tobacco products, as well as e-
cigarettes and cigars. While this is encouraging, the study also showed 65 percent of
respondents didn’t feel the ban was being thoroughly enforced. Many respondents also
claimed they were able to access flavored products in multiple ways. The study concluded
flavor bans could be a potential tool, but shouldn’t be used as a sole action.

Again, we applaud this effort to protect against the harms caused by menthol in tobacco
products and we hope to see further steps forward for tobacco prevention and control in the
near future. Thank you.

Citation: Yang, Yong et al. “The impact of a comprehensive tobacco product flavor
ban in San Francisco among young adults.” Addictive behaviors reports vol. 11
100273. 1 Apr. 2020, doi:10.1016/j.abrep.2020.100273

FDA Denies Authorization to Market JUUL Products

The FDA, on back-to-back days, has announced major tobacco control measures. On Thursday, June 23, the FDA ordered JUUL Labs to remove ALL of their products from the shelves. This is a huge win for tobacco control advocates against JUUL, who was a major catalyst in starting the youth vaping epidemic. The full FDA release is posted below:

For Immediate Release June 23, 2022

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) to JUUL Labs Inc. for all of their products currently marketed in the United States. As a result, the company must stop selling and distributing these products. In addition, those currently on the U.S. market must be removed, or risk enforcement action. The products include the JUUL device and four types of JUULpods: Virginia tobacco flavored pods at nicotine concentrations of 5.0% and 3.0% and menthol flavored pods at nicotine concentrations of 5.0% and 3.0%. Retailers should contact JUUL with any questions about products in their inventory.

“Today’s action is further progress on the FDA’s commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarette and electronic nicotine delivery system products currently being marketed to consumers meet our public health standards,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “The agency has dedicated significant resources to review products from the companies that account for most of the U.S. market. We recognize these make up a significant part of the available products and many have played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping.”

These MDOs only pertain to the commercial distribution, importation and retail sales of these products, and do not restrict individual consumer possession or use—the FDA cannot and will not enforce against individual consumer possession or use of JUUL products or any other tobacco products. 

After reviewing the company’s premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs), the FDA determined that the applications lacked sufficient evidence regarding the toxicological profile of the products to demonstrate that marketing of the products would be appropriate for the protection of the public health. In particular, some of the company’s study findings raised concerns due to insufficient and conflicting data – including regarding genotoxicity and potentially harmful chemicals leaching from the company’s proprietary e-liquid pods – that have not been adequately addressed and precluded the FDA from completing a full toxicological risk assessment of the products named in the company’s applications. 

To date, the FDA has not received clinical information to suggest an immediate hazard associated with the use of the JUUL device or JUULpods. However, the MDOs issued today reflect FDA’s determination that there is insufficient evidence to assess the potential toxicological risks of using the JUUL products. There is also no way to know the potential harms from using other authorized or unauthorized third-party e-liquid pods with the JUUL device or using JUULpods with a non-JUUL device. The FDA recommends against modifying or adding substances to tobacco products. JUUL users are encouraged to report any unexpected health problems or product problems to the FDA through the Safety Reporting Portal and to seek medical attention as necessary.

“The FDA is tasked with ensuring that tobacco products sold in this country meet the standard set by the law, but the responsibility to demonstrate that a product meets those standards ultimately falls on the shoulders of the company,” said Michele Mital, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “As with all manufacturers, JUUL had the opportunity to provide evidence demonstrating that the marketing of their products meets these standards. However, the company did not provide that evidence and instead left us with significant questions. Without the data needed to determine relevant health risks, the FDA is issuing these marketing denial orders.” 

Any products subject to an MDO may not be offered for sale or distributed in the United States, or the FDA may take enforcement action. 

In addition to ensuring that JUUL complies with this order, as with unauthorized products generally, the FDA intends to ensure compliance by distributors and retailers. Specifically, the FDA notes that all new tobacco products on the market without the statutorily required premarket authorization are marketed unlawfully and are subject to enforcement action.  

As the FDA has stated in the past, unauthorized electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products for which no application is pending, including for example, those with an MDO, are among our highest enforcement priorities. Therefore, the FDA encourages retailers to discuss products in their inventory with their suppliers including the current status of any particular tobacco product’s marketing application or marketing authorization. Manufacturers will be the best source of that information and retailers should rely on manufacturers directly to inform decisions about which products to continue selling.

There are many resources to help smokers who want to quit. Quitting all tobacco products is the best possible path to good health. Some current JUUL users who will not have access to JUUL products following this action or current smokers who want to transition away from cigarettes and cigars may decide to switch to other ENDS products that have been reviewed and authorized by the FDA based on their potential to benefit adult smokers. 

To date, the FDA has authorized 23 ENDS products. Under the PMTA pathway, applicants must demonstrate to the agency, among other things, that permitting the marketing of the new tobacco product would be appropriate for the protection of the public health. 

The FDA continues to work to complete its review of the remaining pending applications for deemed products submitted by the Sept. 9, 2020, deadline.


The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.