North Carolina Failing in Efforts to Reduce Tobacco Use in Latest State of Tobacco Control Report
American Lung Association’s annual ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report finds North Carolina has a lot of work to do to protect citizens, youth from the harms of tobacco use, secondhand smoke
(January 25, 2017) -
RALEIGH, N.C. – The American Lung Association’s latest “State of Tobacco Control” report has found that in 2016 North Carolina failed to do enough to implement proven-effective policies that would save lives. The 15th annual report grades states and the federal government on policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and shows that most states and the federal government have earned poor grades.
“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in our nation, and 19 percent of North Carolina residents currently smoke,” said Martha C. Bogdan, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Southeast. “We know what works when it comes to preventing and reducing tobacco use. What we need is for North Carolina policymakers to implement the policies and programs called for in the ‘State of Tobacco Control’ that would save lives and protect kids from a lifetime of addiction.”
The “State of Tobacco Control” report documents the progress and failures of the states and the federal government to address tobacco use, and the report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans from the enormous health toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. This year, the report has also added a new grade on efforts to increase the minimum sales age for tobacco products to 21.
North Carolina’s poor grades this year show that much more must be and should be done by our Governor and State Legislature to pass proven-effective policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives.
As our grades reflect in this report, North Carolina has fallen behind in some important areas. One of the most important moves the General Assembly could make would be to increase funding for state tobacco prevention programs. Adequately funded state programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit are proven to save lives and money. Current funding for North Carolina’s state tobacco use prevention and cessation program is perilously low. In 2011, tobacco use prevention and cessation programs jointly received $17.3 million. The 2016 remaining state funding for QuitlineNC, the state’s phone counseling service for tobacco users, is $1.1 million. That is a very small amount of funding for a state as large as North Carolina.
“It’s no secret how to reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control’ looks at proven methods to save lives and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco,” said Bogdan. “We urge that North Carolina’s elected officials act quickly to implement policies that will save lives and prevent tobacco-caused death and disease.”
For media interested in speaking about the “State of Tobacco Control” report, lung health, tobacco use and tobacco control policies, contact the American Lung Association at Phil.Koehler@LungSE.org or 904-309-8308 (office)/770-367-1501 (mobile). North Carolina’s report can be viewed and downloaded here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/tPO59
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.