A look back at ten years of Smoke Free ND

Published: Jan. 1, 2023 at 11:45 AM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It’s been ten years since North Dakotans took to the polls to ban smoking in public spaces.

Travis Gendron says he’s lucky he gets to mix drinks in a smoke-free environment.

“It’s such a big deal for the community. We’re all going to be a lot healthier because of it, we’re all going to be in a lot better moods because we don’t have to deal with it,” said Travis, a bartender at Blarney Stone.

Even though Travis is a smoker himself, he says he’s happy non-smokers aren’t exposed to secondhand smoke.

“A lot of people don’t make that choice ever, and they shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of other peoples’ decisions like that,” said Travis.

This is exactly what people who sponsored the Smoke Free North Dakota ballot measure in 2012 had in mind.

“There were quite a few studies published in legitimate journals that showed that secondhand smoke was a direct cause of cardiovascular events like heart attack. So, that was really our main focus at the time,” said Dr. Eric Johnson, who was on the sponsoring committee in 2012.

Statutory measure four passed by a two-to-one vote in 2012, which banned smoking indoors statewide.

“People are not able to smoke or vape in enclosed public spaces and places of employment,” said Abby Erickson, North Dakota Health and Human Services Community Programs Coordinator for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.

Every county in the state voted to approve the ballot measure.