Karin Roseland, Fargo, letter: ‘Yes’ on 4 may boost women, infants’ healthMarch of Dimes fully supports this ballot measure that, if passed, will reduce exposure to tobacco smoke by women of childbearing age (especially those who are pregnant).
By: Karin Roseland,
FARGO — The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of women of childbearing age, infants and children by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Therefore, March of Dimes supports a “yes” vote on Measure 4 on the November ballot to ban all smoking in all places of employment.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2006 report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, exposing nonsmoking pregnant women to secondhand smoke may lead to premature birth.
Premature birth affects one in every nine babies born in the North Dakota, making it one of the most serious health problems facing our state. The Institute of Medicine reports that in 2005, the annual societal economic cost — medical, educational, and lost productivity — associated with preterm birth in the United States was at least $26.2 billion.
During that same year, the average first-year medical costs, including both inpatient and outpatient care, were about 10 times greater for preterm ($32,325) than for term infants ($3,325).
In addition, exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, a key contributor to infant mortality.
March of Dimes fully supports this ballot measure that, if passed, will reduce exposure to tobacco smoke by women of childbearing age (especially those who are pregnant).
We urge all North Dakota voters to vote “yes” on Measure 4, and make North Dakota a healthier place to live for pregnant women and babies.
Roseland is state director of the March of Dimes North Dakota Chapter.