The World Health Organization has declared today World No Tobacco Day. Tobacco kills six million people globally every year, and we are trying to do our part to decrease that number in North Carolina. Earlier this week I had the privilege of joining three doctors from our state as they shared a letter signed by over 150 medical providers with members of the General Assembly in support of recurring funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The letter asks that $17.3 million of NC's Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payment be dedicated in recurring funds for tobacco use prevention and cessation programs in North Carolina. Our state will receive over $200 million in MSA payments this year, yet the Senate budget that passed last week only recommends spending $1.4 million on cessation programs, with not a penny for prevention!
The American Heart Association has been one of the leading voices speaking up for tobacco prevention and cessation programs in North Carolina. Dr. Eric Peterson, President of the Board of Directors for the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate of the American Heart Association signed the letter, and says: "I see how my patients suffer the impact of tobacco use all the time, though life-threatening health issues, reduced quality of life and increased medical costs. We have got to change this scenario now."
The budget process has now moved to the NC House of Representatives, where legislative leaders are currently discussing priorities for next year’s budget. Please join the chorus of medical providers across our state that support this funding, and contact your legislator today!
**Blog content by Lee Storrow, Managing Director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health, and You're the Cure volunteer.**
**Picture provided by Rose Hoban.**