Coalition Info

gf tobacco free coalition logo

Member Organizations

Altru Health System

American Cancer Society

Cancer Center of North Dakota

Community Volunteers

Grand Forks Air Force Base (Health and Wellness Center)

Grand Forks Police Department

Grand Forks Public Health Department

Grand Forks Public School System

Lutheran Social Services Region IV Prevention Coordinator

University of North Dakota Student Body

University of North Dakota Student Health

Valley Community Health Centers

Valley Health and WIC


In 1990, City Council member and youth advocate Doug Carpenter was instrumental in passing a city ordinance to eliminate tobacco vending machines from areas accessible to youth. Due to the public attention focused on this issue, the Grand Forks Tobacco and Youth Coalition was formed in 1992 with a small grant from the ND Dept of Health. Under the guidance of the Grand Forks Public Health Department, the coalition focused its efforts on community and youth education and adoption of policies that would reduce the accessibility of tobacco products to youth.

In 1995 the broad-based coalition was successful in passing a city ordinance to license tobacco retailers in the City of Grand Forks with penalties for businesses that sold tobacco to minors. As a result of this effort,
tobacco sales to minors decreased dramatically and youth tobacco use rates have declined in the City of Grand Forks.

Early leadership for the coalition included Health Department tobacco program coordinators, Debbie Swanson, Jule Gronhovd, Mary Froehlich, Candy Homstad and Carrie Kaltenberg. The coalition has shifted its focus from youth prevention to protecting all people from the dangers of secondhand smoke. We have strengthened school prevention programs and added smoking cessation. To better address the public health problem of tobacco use in our community, the coalition changed it’s name to Grand Forks Tobacco Free Coalition and adopted the following mission statement:

The Grand Forks Tobacco Free Coalition is a group of citizens working together to create and promote a healthier, tobacco-free community through education, legislation, and enforcement of policies.

This mission most certainly rang true in the summer of 2005. The Grand Forks Tobacco-Free Coalition played a key role in the passage of the Smoke Free Workplace and Public Place ordinance, which was effective on Aug 1, 2005. This ordinance, a stronger version of the state law, was enacted to protect a larger percentage of residents and visitors in the community from the dangers of second hand smoke.

Under the current leadership of Haley Thorson, the Grand Forks Tobacco Free Coalition enjoys an active broad base of support from schools, law enforcement, health agencies, businesses, government, youth and citizens. Strengthened by funding from the ND Community Health Grant and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the coalition now focuses its efforts on the Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs. This includes interventions that will prevent tobacco use among young people, promote quitting among youth and adults, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, and identify and reduce disparities related to tobacco use among different populations. We welcome citizen involvement in our coalition and would like to hear your ideas.

Contact info

151 S. 4th St, Suite N301, Grand Forks, ND 58201 Telephone: 701-787-8100 Fax: 701-787-8145 E-mail: