BISMARCK, N.D. – Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General released the first comprehensive federal review of the public health impact of e-cigarettes on U.S. youth and young adults. Written and reviewed by more than 150 experts, it highlighted the need to expand prevention efforts to include e-cigarettes, specifically referencing the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control (BreatheND) as a model to follow. The report points to BreatheND’s successful, comprehensive approach to incorporating e-cigarettes in the 2012 Smoke-Free Law and the added effort made to educate communities about complying with the new law.

“We have demonstrated tremendous success in preventing traditional tobacco use in North Dakota over the last eight years, reducing adult smoking rates and cutting the youth smoking rate in half. We are honored to have North Dakota recognized nationally in this way,” said Jeanne Prom, BreatheND executive director. “As the Surgeon General concludes, now is not the time to let up. We must continue our efforts to reduce traditional tobacco use and simultaneously increase our prevention emphasis on e-cigarettes, which are now classified as nicotine products and regulated by the FDA.”

Established in 2008 by North Dakota voters, BreatheND continues to expand its efforts to include e-cigarettes under the guide of the new Surgeon General’s report. An independent public opinion survey shows BreatheND’s efforts earned a 90 percent approval rating from the general public, helped reduce adult smoking rates and cut the youth smoking rate in half. BreatheND’s educational efforts assisted in the passage of the 2012 Smoke-Free Law and the 2015 e-cigarette Youth Protection Law, helped establish 154 tobacco-free school policies, 126 tobacco-free grounds policies, 18 smoke-free cities, and 6,883 smoke-free multi-unit housing units.

The Surgeon General’s report, “E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults,” labels e-cigarettes as an emerging public health threat and urges action now to prevent further harm. Since the brain is still developing until about age 25, youth and young adult exposure to nicotine can lead to addiction and disrupt attention and learning. Additionally, secondhand e-cigarette aerosol that is exhaled into the air by users is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, including nicotine.

BreatheND is ahead of this game. BreatheND and its partners take a proactive approach to tobacco prevention. Prior to the E-cigarette Youth Protection Law passed by legislators during the 2015 session, the BreatheND program helped pass 26 ordinances that prevented youth from purchasing e-cigarettes.

It is important to concentrate on evidence-based strategies that are proven to get the job done. BreatheND has a proven success record to do this job and reduce e-cigarette use rates. See our successes here. To learn more, visit www.BreatheND.com.