There are a lot of exciting things happening at the legislature in North Carolina as they finalize the state budget. Here’s an update on healthy corner stores and tobacco control programs.
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Late in the night on June 20, the state legislature released their final budget. During the legislative session, the advocacy team has worked hard to make sure our legislative priorities were included, and saw investments in healthy eating and tobacco programs.
The state budget included $250,000 in funding to continue the Healthy Corner Store Initiative through the Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources committee budget. The Department of Agriculture had received the same amount in last year’s budget to start the program, and has been working to install refrigeration in small stores in food deserts in the eastern part of the state. This initiative works to bring healthy foods into communities that need them most – helping small business, local farmers, and public health. The $250,000 is an important step to grow the program, but was not at the full funding of $1 million to expand the program across the state.
In tobacco use prevention and cessation funding news, the budget included $500,000 in one-time funding for youth tobacco prevention programs. Since 2012, the state has not dedicated funding to these programs and, as a result, we have seen youth tobacco use increase. It is a good sign that the state has decided to reinvest in these lifesaving programs, but this level of funding does not meet the CDC’s recommendations. There was also a $500,000 increase (recurring) for QuitlineNC, the state’s phone counseling cessation service, and You Quit Two Quit, a tobacco prevention program for pregnant women.
As always, we will work to keep you updated so you always have the latest, and the best, news from our corner of the You’re the Cure network!