In my years of working for women’s public health, I have learned a valuable lesson: If you want to dramatically improve women’s health in North Dakota, convince women to never start smoking and help those who smoke, stop.
Diverting Measure 3 funds away from the people’s clear choice on funding tobacco prevention and control would be irresponsible.
In North Dakota, we’re serious about controlling health care costs. Reduction of harm from tobacco is essential.
Despite annually receiving more than $20 million in settlement payments from the cigarette companies, North Dakota has been spending less than 10 percent of those funds to prevent and reduce tobacco use and its harms.
We have never been against SB 2063, the implementation of Centers for Disease Control standards or the level of funding. We’ve opposed only the wasteful provisions of the bill, namely spending money on an executive committee to oversee a control advisory committee that would work with the State Health Department.
I'd encourage Herald publisher and editor Mike Jacobs and other members of the editorial board to review the Department of Health’s role in “managing” federal standards for Prevention of Significant Deterioration, part of the Clean Air Act amendments passed by Congress in 1977.
This temporary (we hope) break in the full implementation of Measure 3 is an appropriate time to remind the House why the language of Measure 3 as passed by the voters establishes government at its best.
The House may consider a delayed bill to fully fund Measure 3. Providing the bill mirrors the language of the original Senate Bill 2063 (which was passed unanimously by the state Senate) without amendments, the House has another chance to do the right thing.
As the former chief medical officer at the North Dakota Department of Health, I know from experience the influence that the tobacco industry and their allies can have on the Legislature, Health Department and governor’s office.
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