We present deep sub-millimetre (sub-mm) observations of sixteen galaxies at z=0.5, selected through being hosts of a type Ia supernova. Two galaxies are detected directly, and the sample, excluding the brightest detected galaxy, is detected statistically with a mean 850 μm flux of 0.92 ± 0.33 mJy. We infer that the mean value of AV in normal galaxies is 0-80% higher than locally, in agreement with galaxy chemical evolution models. The dust in the brightest sub-mm object in our sample is best interpreted as normal `cirrus' dust similar to that seen locally. This result, when combined with local surveys of type Ia supernovae, suggests that dust in supernova host galaxies at z=0.5 could produce a dimming that is comparable to the dimming attributed to accelerated expansion. This emphasizes the need to carefully monitor dust extinction when using type Ia supernovae to measure the cosmological parameters. As supernova surveys push to higher redshifts and to greater precision in extracted cosmological parameters, understanding the role of dust in these objects will become even more important.