GOOD PLACE TO LIVE North Dakota leads the nation in well-being, according to a survey taken of 178,000 Americans nationwide by Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. North Dakota led the nation with a score of 70.4 out of a possible 100; South Dakota finished second with a score of 70. Hawaii had held the top spot for the past four years. North Dakota had been among the top 10 states from 2009 to 2011, but fell out of the top 10 in 2012. Kentucky and West Virginia had the two lowest scores for the fifth year in a row, according to the survey. Despite our state's ongoing challenges associated with the boom in the oil industry, we're glad North Dakota continues to rank high in the well-being survey. It's still a great place to live, work and raise a family.
STATES CONSIDER SMOKING RESTRICTIONS A few states are considering raising the age of legal smoking. Lawmakers in Utah and Colorado have proposed raising the age to legally smoke tobacco products to 21. Four states Utah, Alabama, New Jersey and Alaska already have legal age limits of 19 for tobacco usage. Officials in Utah and Colorado argue that raising the smoking age limit will help curb tobacco use among teens, and thereby lower the number of tobacco-related deaths. Utah already has the nation's lowest smoking rate, but officials there want to crack down even further on tobacco usage, and raising the legal limit to 21 is another step in that direction. It will be interesting to see if the proposals gain traction in Utah and Colorado, and if the effort to raise the legal smoking age spreads to any other states.