The Tar Heel State has seriously missed the mark over the last few years.
Last week, the American Lung Association (ALA) released North Carolina's Report Card in the 2018 State of Tobacco Control. The state received Fs in all five categories: Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding, Smokefree Air, Tobacco Taxes, Access to Cessation Services, and Minimum Age. This annual report shows the progress and failures to prevent and reduce tobacco use.
Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the nation, yet funding for North Carolina's state tobacco use prevention and cessation program is dangerously low. In 2011, tobacco use and cessation programs received $17.3 million. Currently, QuitlineNC receives a total of $1.35 million per year for cessation and youth tobacco use prevention programs have only $1 million in non-recurring funding for the 2017-2018 legislative biennium. We can do better.
To address the critical problem in our state, the General Assembly should first and foremost increase funding for state tobacco prevention programs. Adequately funded programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers to quit are proven to save lives and money.
Tobacco use not only affects those who use tobacco, but also those around them. To increase the health and well-being of North Carolinians, and save lives, we must do more to address tobacco use and control.
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