State advocacy

The March of Dimes volunteers and staff work to influence both legislative and regulatory activities in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico - serving as powerful voices for the needs of pregnant women, infants, children and families.  Our efforts span the full range of our annual Advocacy & Government Affairs priorities, including access to care, research and surveillance, prevention and education, and issues important to tax-exempt organizations.

State advocacy priorities and wins 2016

View our interactive map to learn more about policy priorities and wins in your state.


In 2017, March of Dimes advocates across the nation are working in states to decrease the use of tobacco and tobacco products by promoting raising the minimum legal age of purchase for tobacco products to 21 years old, tobacco cessation and prevention programs, and supporting policies that create and protect smoke-free green and work spaces.  

The minimum age to purchase tobacco in most states is 18 years old. On average, ninety percent of adult smokers begin smoking during their teenage years. Raising the minimum age required to purchase tobacco products can significantly improve public health outcomes for women, children, and infants by delaying or preventing altogether the initiation of smoking or use of other tobacco products. This year, Washington, D.C. joined New York City and Boston as a major city to successfully
enact legislation to raise the minimum smoking age to 21, adding to statewide initiatives in Hawaii and California. March of Dimes advocates in Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington are working on Tobacco 21 initiatives in 2017.

In Wyoming, the March of Dimes successfully advocated to defeat legislation encouraging individuals to use electronic cigarettes and vapor products as smoking cessation alternatives. March of Dimes advocates are promoting smoke-free measures in Illinois and Tennessee; funding for smoking cessation programs in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and Wyoming; and tobacco tax legislation in Indiana, Maine and New Mexico.

Nationwide, an average of 1 in 10 pregnant women smokes and in some communities the rate is much higher.  For expecting mothers, tobacco use during pregnancy increases the risk of premature delivery in babies and directly affects fetal growth. According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s report, in the last 50 years, 10,000 babies have died from sudden infant death syndrome or complications of prematurity, low birthweight, and other conditions as a result of parental smoking.

See below to access our fact sheets on tobacco. March of Dimes remains committed to working with state policymakers and stakeholders across the country to promote tobacco cessation policies and initiatives.

Below are just a few examples of fact sheets and issue briefs used in successful state advocacy efforts.


See also: Advocacy and Government Affairs Issues and PrioritiesMarch of Dimes Foundation Data Book for Policy Makers and Peristats.