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. The 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,” exposure to secondhand smoke by non-smoking pregnant women may lead to premature birth.
Premature birth affects one in every nine babies born in North Dakota, making it one of the most serious health problems facing our state today. The Institute of Medicine reports that in 2005, the annual societal economic cost (medical, educational and lost productivity) associated with preterm births 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.
We urge all North Dakota voters to vote yes on Measure 4.