Local Students Celebrate "Kick Butts" Day

KX News, Bismarck
Click here to watch video of this story.

It’s national “Kick Butts” day… A day to encourage people to snuff tobacco out of their lives.
It’s not promoted by officials, but rather by students.
Courtney Plante shows you how Students Against Destructive Decisions are doing their part to warn their peers.
Today’s announcements at St. Mary’s are a bit different than usual.
Members of SADD, or Students Against Destructive Decisions are quizzing students about things like e-cigarettes.
Andrew Stromme wants his friends to realize the dangers of tobacco use.
“I do have some people I know that do smoke, and they’re trying to quit. They really start to realize how big of a problem it is, and how hard it is to let go,” said Andrew Stromme, St. Mary’s SADD member.
Across town, things are a little more in your face.
SADD members at Century hand out suckers and have students smell candies that are similar to flavors of e-cigarettes.
 “They are advertising to kids and people my age. So we got colorful wrappers that look like candy,” said Hannah Rexine, SADD member.
Their goal — prevent friends from using tobacco.
Or help them quit once they’ve started.
“A lot of people at my old middle school did smoke and it’s hard seeing people make those decisions so young and it can effect your future so greatly,” said Hannah Rexine, SADD member.
9th grade math teacher Marcy Feickert says there are quite a few students that use e-cigarettes.
She says educational messages like this show students how advertisements are targeting people their age.
“The kids jaws literally dropped looking at all the packaging and how attractive the packaging is now for e-cigarettes,” said Marcy Feickert.
At both schools the lesson for students is clear…
Don’t start smoking…
“I don’t want to start it because I know it’s addictive. It’s a good thing to stay away from”
“I think it’s a waste of money…all tobacco is”
Don’t fall for ads…
“E-cigarettes are the new fad right now, I mean people are trying them just because they look cool,” said Courtney Seilerm, SADD Advisor.
“You see it in the commercial, all of the colorful packaging, that appeals to younger children,” said Andrew Stromme, SADD member.
Do kick butts.
Reporting in Bismarck for KX News, I’m Courtney Plante.
At the end of the day students at St. Mary’s get cookies for correct trivia answers.

Kathleen Sebelius column: Working toward a tobacco-free generation

For Press-Gazette Media

Here’s a sobering statistic about the tobacco epidemic — a battle many Americans think is already won: If we continue at current smoking rates, 5.6 million children alive today will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. That’s one in 13 kids gone too early due to an entirely preventable cause. That is unacceptable.
That’s why we are asking every American to join our efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free.
Today, we are at a crossroads. In the past 50 years, we’ve more than cut the adult smoking rate in half from nearly 43 percent down to 18 percent, and we’ve reduced 12th-grade students’ smoking rate to 16 percent in 2013 from a high of 38 percent in l976.
Yet nearly 500,000 Americans die of smoking-related disease each year. What’s more, the tobacco epidemic costs us nearly $300 billion in productivity and direct medical costs annually.
I believe a tobacco-free generation is within our reach, but it will take commitment from across the spectrum — from federal, state and local governments, but also from businesses, educators, the entertainment industry and beyond.
Already, we are seeing leadership from the private sector. This month, CVS, the second largest pharmacy chain in the country, announced it will no longer sell tobacco products. In doing so, CVS it is at once reducing access to these harmful products and helping to make smoking less attractive.
We know that consumers, especially children, are influenced by pro-smoking messages when they shop in stores that sell tobacco products. This includes the display of cigarettes behind the register known as the “power wall.” For young people, power walls help shape cigarette brand awareness and the sense that smoking is normal and accepted.
In multiple ways, CVS’ decision will have impact. I applaud this private sector health leader for taking an important new step to curtail tobacco use. I hope that other retailers will take up this pro-health mantle.
The stakes are high. Each day, more than 3,200 youth under age 18 in the United States try their first cigarette, and another 700 kids under age 18 who’ve been occasional smokers become daily smokers.
I am thrilled that earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration launched its first national tobacco education campaign, The campaign is targeting on-the-cusp youth –— the 12- to 17-year-old kids who are open to smoking or have experimented with cigarettes, but are not regular smokers.
But creating a tobacco-free generation cannot start and end with our youngest citizens: working toward this goal begins in the present, and reaching adult smokers is essential.
In that light, I’m very pleased the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has started the third season of its impactful Tips From Former Smokers campaign. The 2012 tips series alone prompted an estimated 1.6 million smokers to try to quit, resulting in more than 200,000 additional calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, and helped at least 100,000 smokers quit for good.
I am inspired by the ongoing work that is necessary to drastically reduce smoking rates in our country. Whether it’s other retailers following CVS’ lead, more colleges and universities joining the 2,000 schools that are part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative (, or movie studios taking tobacco use and imagery out of youth-rated films, I encourage new partners to help us stop the cycle of sickness, disability and death caused by tobacco.
Victory will require bold action. What will you do to help make the next generation tobacco-free?
Kathleen Sebelius is secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Quiet Anniversaries That Resound Loudly with North Dakotans

By: Erin Hill-Oban
Submitted to: ND Physician, December 2013 publication from the North Dakota Medical Association – pg. 30
With all the chaos and busy-ness in our everyday lives, milestones like birthdays and anniversaries pass by so quickly that, once in a while, we forget
to celebrate the day itself, let alone the importance that occasion brought to our lives. There were two anniversaries that just passed on the calendar, and while we are not upset, as a spouse or child might be upon being forgotten, we thought the occasions provided a great opportunity to remind NDMA members of the progress North Dakota has made in the past five years in tobacco prevention and control.
November 4 and November 6 marked, respectively, the anniversaries of the passages of Measure #3 in 2008 and Measure #4 in 2012. Measure #3 received 54% of the vote and thus implemented and fully funded North Dakota’s comprehensive tobacco prevention and control program. Measure #4 earned 67% approval at the polls and created the strongest statewide smoke-free law in the nation.
These publicly (rather than legislatively) initiated and passed measures have a direct impact on the health of North Dakotans and support for each has only grown stronger since their passages.
In February of 2013, Tobacco Free North Dakota (TFND) commissioned a public poll of North Dakota voters, conducted by Keating Research, Inc., to gauge the public’s feelings toward the aforementioned measures. Results showed support for continuing to fund a comprehensive program had grown from 54% of the voters in 2008 to 89% of those polled, and the statewide smoke-free law, just three months into its implementation, had already reached 72% support, up from 67% of voter support. It is difficult to argue with numbers like that, and it is even more difficult to argue with the effects produced by policies like these.
Medical professionals know of, and many educate, about the harmful role tobacco use plays in the health of their patients and future patients. TFND
has great respect and overwhelming appreciation for the tobacco prevention and cessation efforts our medical professionals practice in their offices. In fact, a recent study showed that physicians and other medical professionals are the best and most effective messengers for advising individuals to quit tobacco use. Though obesity has climbed the ranks, tobacco use still remains one of the leading causes of preventable disease and death, contributing to more than 800 deaths each year right here in North Dakota. Reducing, and even better yet, preventing, tobacco use provides the greatest benefits in reducing the incidences of so many chronic diseases – from lung cancer and diabetes to heart disease and stroke.
While the health benefits of reducing and preventing tobacco use are fairly obvious, a topic often overlooked when discussing the impacts of successful tobacco prevention is the potential savings in annual health care costs. In North Dakota, annual health care costs directly caused by smoking alone is estimated at $247 million, and smoking- related costs covered by the state Medicaid program total $47 million annually. If we, as a nation, and in North Dakota, as a fiscally conservative state, are truly concerned with bringing down our health care costs, we would double- down on tobacco prevention efforts.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), best practices for comprehensive tobacco control programs is a three-legged stool: 1.) fully-funding the program at CDC recommendations; 2.) implementing strong smoke-free laws; and 3.) passing high tobacco tax rates. North Dakota is one of very few states to successfully enact two of the three, but with a dangerously low tobacco tax, ranking 46th lowest in the nation, North Dakota will struggle to bring tobacco use down much further. Although an obvious source of revenue, we view tobacco tax as a public health measure to reduce tobacco use and save millions in future health care costs. Proven as one of the most effective ways to prevent young people from ever starting and to encourage current users to quit or reduce use, raising the tobacco tax is a lofty, yet achievable goal that organizations like TFND are dedicated to addressing through legislative action in 2015.
Years of research show time and time again the indisputable effects that tobacco prevention and control policy has on public health, so your work in the doctor’s office, combined with TFND and NDMA’s efforts on statewide policy, are certainly making a difference. We are grateful to your organization for your past support, commend you for going on record with us by adopting a resolution of support to raise North Dakota’s tobacco tax, and look forward to opportunities to provide information and education to your members, the public, and policymakers throughout the coming year.

U.S. Colleges and Universities Deserve an 'A' for Going Tobacco-Free

, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Co-authored by
Cynthia Hallett, MPH
Executive Director
American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation

The Great American Smokeout (GASO), sponsored by the American Cancer Society, encourages smokers to quit for a day and plan to quit smoking for good. This year, celebrating GASO also involves recognizing the growing leadership of our nation’s colleges and universities in making campuses smoke- or tobacco-free.
Our physical environment affects the daily choices we make about life and health. For decades, such environments have promoted a cultural norm glamorizing tobacco use that has led to devastating outcomes. College and university campuses can prevent nicotine addiction among students by implementing tobacco-free campus policies and promoting healthy lifestyle choices.
As the 2012 Surgeon General’s Report Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults illustrates, many lifestyle choices that lead to future health risk, including tobacco use, peak between 21 and 25 years of age. The number of smokers who started after age 18 has recently increased from 600,000 (2002) to 1 million (2010). This means that, ultimately, up to 1 million current college students could die prematurely from tobacco use.
In September of 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), together with several key partners, launched the Tobacco Free College Campus Initiative (TFCCI) to encourage the voluntary adoption of tobacco-free policies at institutions of higher learning across the nation. It has been a remarkable year since the launch. Colleges and universities everywhere have launched campus conversations that remind their students, faculty and administration that the tobacco epidemic is far from solved. They have initiated inclusive dialogues about possible policy change options, and have considered new policies that could restore their campuses to places where health, not addiction, is the norm.
The Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) Foundation, a non-lobbying, educational, nonprofit organization (501(c)3), creates comprehensive programs that support smoking prevention, the benefits of smoke-free air, and the right to breathe smoke-free air. The ANR Foundation has tracked, collected, and analyzed tobacco control laws around the country since the early 1980s. Each quarter, the ANR Foundation unveils updated information to communicate the current status of smoke-free air environments. Today, in honor of GASO, ANR Foundation has released the latest list of smoke- and tobacco-free schools.
When the TFCCI began in September 2012, 774 colleges and universities were smoke- or tobacco-free. Today, there are more than 1127 100% smoke-free campuses and 758 of those are 100% tobacco-free. We celebrate the dramatic rise in that number, not only because it represents a rapidly growing percentage of the 4,583 colleges and universities in the United States, but also because it reflects the improved health of students today that will reduce risk of illness and death tomorrow.
We can offer many resources for user-friendly information about tobacco prevention and cessation. Everyone who is interested in quitting should seek help from a tobacco cessation program such as, 1-800-QUIT-NOW or through their health insurance plans. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, most private health insurance plans will now cover the cost of cessation interventions for tobacco users. HHS’ website,, represents another valuable resource that includes user-friendly information on the health impact of tobacco use, federal and state laws and policies, and the best guidance on how to quit. Also, January 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. A new Report will highlight a half-century of progress in tobacco control and prevention, as well as present new data on the health consequences of tobacco use.
Deglamorizing and denormalizing tobacco use for adolescents and young adults can help our country reclaim a social norm of health and wellness. As we encourage our loved ones to quit today, let’s also recognize the leadership of colleges and universities around the country that will make our country stronger and healthier for the future.

UTTC goes tobacco free

By Hannah Johnson
BISMARCK, N.D. _ United Tribes Technical College will become a tobacco-free campus starting Jan. 1.
Both the University of Mary and Bismarck State College have already gone tobacco-free. United Tribes is the first tribal college in the state to do so.
The policy was spearheaded by the Wellness Circle, a group at UTTC that identifies ways to improve campus health and wellness.
“Our Wellness Circle knew this was the right thing to do,” said Pat Aune, the group facilitator.
The group wanted the policy for several years, Aune said, but it takes time to get the community on board.
“It takes a long time to bring the whole community along on such a big change,” she said.
Now, she said, the community is mostly very supportive.
She expects some resistance and knows the policy would be difficult to enforce, with some people likely continuing to use tobacco just outside campus boundaries.
“We know that some of that will happen, but we don’t want to make it easy,” Aune said.
Still, she said, the new policy may be the push many need to quit smoking, or using tobacco.
The campus plans to offer cessation classes and the policy will be printed in the student and employee handbooks.
The signing ceremony for the policy will happen at 10:15 a.m. Thursday in the college’s Wellness Center multipurpose room.
The policy will go into effect Jan. 1 — “new year, new policy,” Aune said.
Hopefully, she said, United Tribes can be an example to other tribal colleges in the state.
Native Americans have a higher than average rate of tobacco use, Aune said, and the new policy is just one step toward reducing that statistic.

Tobacco Is No Longer Tolerated at Valley City Parks

On the heels of a state wide smoking ban in public places, a North Dakota city is taking it one step further. Tobacco use is now against the law in city parks and several other city-owned areas in Valley City. Valley News team’s Eric Crest clears the air on where smoking is, and is not, allowed in the city.
It wasn’t long ago that the state of North Dakota decided it was time to embrace a new smoking ordinance.
“I loved it, I absolutely loved it,” says, Heather Hildebrant of Bismarck.
The state wide ordinance kept cigarettes out of businesses and the approach to their entrances.
“I can bring my son outside and go anywhere and not worry about people smoking outside of buildings or inside of them anymore,” adds Hildebrant.
Recently Valley City took it one step further. A handful of city property will be tobacco free now too.
“They can’t smoke in any park owned property, any activity arenas outside, in any of our buildings,” explains Dick Gulmon the President of the Park and Recreation Board for Valley City.
That includes playgrounds, spectator areas, athletic fields, concession areas, and even parking lots on nearly all of the cities property.
“It’s our responsibility in managing the parks and recreation programming to set an example of a healthy lifestyle,” says Gulmon.
“It drives me insane. They’re not only affecting their body, they’re taking the choice away from everyone else around them that don’t want it in their system,” adds Hildebrant.
The Tobacco Prevention Coordinator in Valley City says by eliminating all tobacco use in public parks in town, they’re not just reversing the normalization of tobacco use, but they’re also impacting generations to come.
“I think it’s the effect on the youth. I think promoting that healthy lifestyle and not seeing cigarette butts in the parks, and (not to mention) what that can do to the environment. But promoting that for the youth and setting that example,” says Gulmon.
Because as the state and cities alike continue taking steps like these, it’s the youth, that will reap the benefits.
“It’s their choice I guess. What they want to do with their body. But it just bugs me when they do it around other people cause then we’re stuck with the consequence of their choices,” says Hildebrant.
Not all public parks in Valley City are tobacco free just yet. The local Tourist Park Campground and Bjornson’s Public Golf Course did not end up on the list. The park board mentioned that out of concern for a loss of business to neighboring communities, they made an exception.

More restrictions for smokers at Ralph Engelstad Arena

By: Jennifer Johnson, Grand Forks Herald
Those who want to take a smoke break during events at Grand Forks’ Ralph Engelstad Arena will be free to leave but they won’t be allowed back in starting Oct. 6, the night of the first UND men’s hockey game, according to arena spokesman Chris Semrau.
This will affect all events at the arena itself and the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
The arena’s new policy would be consistent with UND’s tobacco policy, and is another step to ensure a healthier workplace for employees on event nights, Semrau said on Monday.
UND became a tobacco-free campus in 2007, but the Ralph was among the places exempted. The arena was able to offer guests an outdoor smoking zone.
Arena officials have considered getting rid of those zones for years, Semrau said. Though he estimates the number of people who smoke at arena events is low, he said tobacco smoke drifting into the building while children were present was enough to trigger complaints. “Most guests and staff said they didn’t want smoking allowed anymore.”
“The community itself has voted to remove smoking from most establishments, and this is another step in that direction,” Semrau said, referring to city laws restricting smoking indoors.
“We thought this was the right next step for the facility,” he said. “With any change, you’ll always have some negative feedback. But we hope to address what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and we believe it will not have a major impact on guests.”
Information about the new policy will be sent to season ticket holders in the next week, he said.

WSC Going Smoke Free

By Chris Williams – email
It’s a move more college’s across the country are starting to make…going smoke free.
Out of the 11 institutions in North Dakota, 10 of them are smoke free, and now Williston State College is going to make it 11.
Last but not least. On November 1st of this year, Williston State College is going to be not only smoke free, but tobacco free.
“It includes e-cigarettes, it includes chewing tobacco, any other kind of tobacco form, it is all forbidden to be on campus and being used on campus,” said Williston State College Faculty Senate Chair Kim Weismann.
WSC administrators have been busy over the last several years, adding new buildings, and getting new projects ready to go. This year, school officials were able to do some things they’ve been waiting to do. Like creating a tobacco free campus.
“All the governing bodies in campus needed to approve the policy, but we also need to make sure there’s enforcement, and signage and all of those other things we really don’t ever think about when it goes through with policy changes,” added Weismann.
One Teton says she is excited the campus is going to be tobacco free.
“We’re getting all of these new things, so we want it to keep looking new, we want to show we’re appreciative of all the things that we have,” said Student Senate President Samantha Chamberlain.
Chamberlain says a large portion of the student body are athletes, and they shouldn’t be smoking anyways.
“They need to be able to run up and down the court to win us games,” Chamberlain added.
If you’re caught smoking on campus when the policy goes into effect, you will be issued one warning, and after that you will be fined. This policy is for all buildings owned by the college.
“The apartment complex is also tobacco free, so even in your own personal apartment there’s no smoking or tobacco use,” Weismann added.

Underage tobacco sales reported at record lows

AP Tobacco Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — New statistics show that the sale of tobacco to minors in the U.S. were held near all-time lows last year under a federal-state inspection program intended to curb underage usage.
The violation rate of tobacco sales to underage youth at retailers nationwide has fallen from about 40 percent in 1997 to 9.1 percent in the last fiscal year, according to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration report released Tuesday. The rate, which reached an all-time low of 8.5 percent in 2011, is based on the results of random, unannounced inspections conducted at stores to see whether they’d sell tobacco products to a customer under the age of 18.
A U.S. Surgeon General’s report issued last year found that more needs to be done to prevent young Americans from using tobacco, including stricter smoking bans and higher taxes on tobacco products. According to that report, almost one in five high school-aged children smokes. That’s down from earlier decades, but the rate of decline has slowed. It also said that more than 80 percent of smokers begin by age 18 and 99 percent of adult smokers in the U.S. start by age 26.
The inspection program, named for late U.S. Rep. Mike Synar of Oklahoma, is a federal mandate requiring each state to document that the rate of tobacco sales to minors is no more than 20 percent at the risk losing millions in federal funds for alcohol and other drug abuse prevention and treatment services.
Frances Harding, director of the federal agency’s Center for Substance Abuse, said that while the program has made “remarkable strides,” far more needs to be done to curb underage tobacco use.
In the last fiscal year, 33 states and Washington, D.C., reported a retailer violation rate below 10 percent, according to the Tuesday report. It was the seventh time that no state was found to be out of compliance. Maine reported the lowest rate of 1.8 percent, and Oregon reported the highest rate at 17.9 percent.
The latest federal data shows that about 14 percent of minors reported buying their own cigarettes in stores in 2011, down from 19 percent a decade earlier, suggesting that children may instead be getting their cigarettes and tobacco products from places other than convenience stores or gas stations.

New, desirable norm with tobacco

By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
Usually, cultural change in North Dakota starts in the bigger cities and seeps down to less populated towns.
That isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to tobacco, however.
Earlier this year, Cooperstown, N.D., a town of about 1,000 people in Griggs County, passed a tobacco ban in its city park. The ban includes the use of smokeless tobacco.
The Grand Forks Park Board hasn’t taken that extra step.
“We accepted the state law, which has no ban on smokeless,” said Bill Palmiscno, Park District director. “And, the way it was explained to us by the city health department, the smoking ban is about being around activities. If you go off alone somewhere in the park, you’re OK to smoke.”
Leading the charge in Cooperstown was Julie Ferry, administrator of the Nelson-Griggs Health Unit.
“I can’t take credit for it,” Ferry said. “The credit needs to go to health-minded people on the Cooperstown Park Board and their employees.”
A popular – and somewhat defensible – argument for not including smokeless tobacco is that there’s no second-hand damage to non-users, as there is with smoke. But Ferry comes well-armed to argue that point.
Her case is that: 1) Chew can have second-hand damage because it’s spit on the ground and can be consumed by youngsters and pets; 2) Chew sets a bad example; and 3) Banning chew can help to set a new, more desirable norm.
“If we adopt policies that limit places you can do something, that creates a new social norm,” Ferry said. “The social norm used to be that you could smoke on airplanes. Now you can’t.
“The consequence to others is them seeing it and thinking it’s an acceptable behavior. We need to role model for our youth.”
Molly Soeby, a first-term commissioner who has brought diversity to the Grand Forks Park Board in more ways than her gender, hasn’t given up her efforts to make parks tobacco-free. She has applied for a grant to conduct two surveys about the issue. One would be for the general public and the other specific to golfers and softball players, anticipated to be the demographic most opposed to a ban.
“The whole purpose behind this is to not get kids started because it’s so addicting,” Soeby said.
If the grant comes through, the survey should be completed by the end of summer. If the survey is favorable to her cause, Grand Forks may become the next Cooperstown.
“It’s sometimes easier to watch what bigger cities do, so you can find out where the battlegrounds are,” Ferry said. “On the other hand, because everyone knows everyone else, small towns can get things done faster.”