Today is Kick Butts Day, an annual day hosted by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids to celebrate youth leadership and activism in the fight against big tobacco. Kick Butts Day is particularly relevant this year as we mark the anniversary of the first Surgeon General's report on smoking. A new report was released this year that found that smoking is even more dangerous than previously thought. The report concluded that cigarette smoking has many adverse effects on the body not known until now, such as causing inflammation and impairing immune function. Additionally, exposure to secondhand smoke has been “causally linked to cancer, respiratory, and cardiovascular disease, and to adverse effects on the health of infants and children.”
Given the enormous public health tragedy caused by tobacco and cigarette smoking, it’s more important than ever before that North Carolina invest in tobacco prevention and cessation programs. This new report concluded that the “tobacco industry deliberately misled the public on the risks of smoking cigarettes,” and it’s important that we fund public health efforts to counter the advertising might of the industry. North Carolina will receive over $150 million from the Master Settlement Agreement this year, yet our state is barely spending $1.2 million on efforts to help smokers quit, and we are not spending a dime to prevent kids from starting to smoke in the first place. On Kick Butts Day, I hope our legislative leaders will seriously consider investing in tobacco prevention and cessation programs in 2014.
Many thanks to Lee Storrow, Managing Director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health, and You’re the Cure advocate for writing today’s post.