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Stop the Harm Before it Starts: LTEs from Local Youth


In December, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids released their Broken Promises Report. North Carolina did not fare well.  In that report, NC ranked 45th in protecting kids from tobacco.  In 2013 the NC Legislature provided $1.2 Million in recurring funds for QuitlineNC which will provide assistance for those tobacco users who want to quit for years to come.  However there were no funds for tobacco use prevention despite the fact that NC this year will collect $409.6 million in revenue from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes. This means North Carolina is spending less than a penny of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.

When You’re the Cure teen advocates, Michelle Ballasiotes, Cassidy Collins, Rose Vetter and Zoe Gabrielson learned of this report they put pen to paper.  Each sent a letter to the editor to their local newspaper.  We are so proud of their work and were thrilled when letters were printed in Hickory, Raleigh and Fayetteville! 

And while Michelle’s letter wasn’t printed – she summed up the situation so well with these words:

“Let’s think logically here. So we are spending money to help people quit smoking. If people have already started, that means unnecessary medical costs are being put towards not only the smoker, but also the innocent secondhand smokers who perhaps can’t help being around the tobacco…. Rather than putting everyone in harm, the logical thing would be to stop the harm before it has started.”

Our teens wisely understand the importance of tobacco use prevention.  So let’s make sure our lawmakers know this as well.

Michelle, Cassidy, Rose, and Zoe – Thank you for being advocates speaking out for building a healthier North Carolina!

Michelle and Cassidy Zoey at Home Rose and Michelle

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