Health Advocacy Groups Oppose Efforts to Weaken Smoke-Free Protections and Urge Senate to Vote No

Proposed bill would allow cigar smoking in bars and cigar lounges


Priscilla Cabral-Pérez, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, 720-450-1512

Bismarck, N.D. – February 17, 2021 – Today the North Dakota House voted 48 to 45 to pass a bill that would exempt cigar lounges and bars that sell cigars from the statewide smoke-free law. A group of public health and advocacy organizations strongly opposes House Bill 1152 and urges the Senate to vote against it.

There’s no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and North Dakotans understand that. In 2012, every county across the state voted to pass one of the strongest smoke-free laws in the country. Opening the door to expand exemptions undermines the will of the people and is simply bad policy that could prove fatal.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the U.S. Additionally, smoking increases a person’s risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Smoke-free laws exist to protect patrons and workers from exposure to secondhand smoke because no one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck.

Smoke-free laws also denormalize tobacco use, which results in a reduced number of people, especially youth, who start smoking and increases quitting by those who smoke. Lower smoking rates lead to improved health, including fewer heart attacks and cancers.

Amid this pandemic, when standing up for public health is of the utmost priority, particularly respiratory health, we ask our senators to reject any efforts to infringe upon North Dakotans’ right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

About the American Lung Association 
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy. The Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer, to improve the air we breathe, to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families, and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-685-4872) or visit

About Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights 
Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smoke-free workplace, restaurant, and bar law. ANR aims to close gaps in smoke-free protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit 

About Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids 
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with more than 20-year track record of leading and supporting successful policy advocacy campaigns. Through strategic communications and policy advocacy campaigns, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids work to change public attitudes about tobacco and promote proven policies that are most effective at reducing tobacco use and save the most lives. For more information, please visit