North Carolina spends small amount on tobacco prevention efforts in North Carolina

From a press release:

RALEIGH, N.C. – According to a recent report from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, North Carolina will only spend about $1.2 million of the $422 million it will receive from the 1998 Big Tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes this fiscal year on efforts to prevent kids from smoking and helping others to quit.

John Schachter, director of state communications at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says states are collecting more than $25 billion from the landmark legal settlement. However, states are spending less than two percent of that total amount on smoking prevention and cessation programs.

“Those numbers are indicative that states are literally sacrificing the lives and health of their kids,” says Schachter. “It’s something which doesn’t have to be the case.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends North Carolina spend nearly $1 billion per year on smoking prevention programs.

The report points to Florida as an example other states should follow. Florida cut its high school smoking rate to 7.5 percent from 15 percent by adequately funding tobacco prevention programs through a voter-approved ballot initiative.

“We would actually save 2.3 million lives, and over $120 billion in health care costs,” says Schachter. “We would prevent seven million kids from becoming adult smokers if we could just get every state to achieve Florida’s rate, let alone go beyond that.”

Schachter says North Carolina’s 15 percent high school smoking rate is line with the national average. He adds that tobacco use kills an estimated 14,000 North Carolinians each year, and that taxpayers spend nearly $3.8 billion on health care for sick smokers.

About Susan Foster
Freelance writer passionate about wellness and spirituality, clinical psychologist, avid hiker and reader. Follow me @susanjfosterphd

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