Senate votes to end 'Breathe ND' as a separate state agency

Feb 23, 2017

Sen. Erin Oban (D-Bismarck).
Credit Courtesy ND Legislature

03039 Breathe ND                                                   2-22-17 ddt

The Senate has voted to dissolve the Tobacco Control and Prevention agency.

That agency is funded by part of the so-called “master settlement” on a lawsuit states filed against big tobacco companies. Both the Dalrymple budget and the Burgum budget called for the agency’s elimination, and the duties to be transferred to the state Health department.

The agency was created by initiated measure passed by voters in 2008.

Sen. Erin Oban (D-Bismarck) said the agency has helped reduce the amount of smoking in North Dakota, especially among teen-agers.

"This agency focuses solely on one issue," Oban said during floor debate. "Our move to undue that is short-sighted."

Sen. Gary Lee (R-Casselton) said money from the tobacco settlement will soon run out.

"We thought it was important for the long term to begin the transition now, to solid footing," Lee said.

The bill passed 36 to 10 – and will now be considered in the House.