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Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in North Carolina. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by North Carolina's elected officials:

  1. Maintain state funding for tobacco control programs, including prevention, education and cessation according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs;
  2. Support licensing of all tobacco retailers, including e-cigarette retailers;
  3. Support a tobacco tax increase to the current average cigarette tax and equalize taxes for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
The North Carolina General Assembly has been quite busy in 2022 with the end of the 2021 “Long Session” on March 11, 2022. This represents the longest session since 1965 which spanned 199 legislative days and ended in a different year than it was started in. The North Carolina General Assembly returned in May 2022 to start their “Short Session.” While the “Short Session” was quite busy on other issues, such as Medicaid expansion discussions, the 2022 legislative session was quiet on the tobacco prevention and control front.

The American Lung Association and other partners continued to support and monitor the implementation of the JUUL settlement funds by the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch within the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The funds are being allocated over a 6-year time period with a focus on tobacco and nicotine dependence prevention and cessation activities.

Outside of the formal legislative session process, there was significant conversations among state agencies and prominent committees about the importance of implementing a comprehensive and evidence-based tobacco retail licensing system. This should also include policy changes to raise the sale age of tobacco products to 21 years old to align with federal law. Additionally, the American Lung Association was encouraged by the ongoing conversations on Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, especially given the proposed impact on tobacco cessation coverage once the policy change is implemented.

In 2023, the American Lung Association in North Carolina will join our tobacco control partners, including the North Carolina Alliance for Health, to educate state legislators about the health and economic benefits of strong tobacco control policies, including a comprehensive tobacco retail licensing program. The Lung Association will also continue to work with partners to ensure adequate funding for the tobacco, prevention and control activities within the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

North Carolina Facts
Healthcare Costs Due to Smoking: $3,809,676,476
Adult Smoking Rate: 14.40%
High School Smoking Rate: 5.70%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 27.30%
Middle School Smoking Rate: 2.40%
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 14,220
Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking and tobacco use and middle school smoking rates come from the 2019 North Carolina Youth Tobacco Survey. High school tobacco use includes cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and electronic vapor products, as well as pipe, bidis, roll-your-own cigarettes, hookah, snus, dissolvable tobacco products, and clove cigars, making it incomparable to other states.

Health impact information is taken from the Smoking Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) software. Smoking attributable deaths reflect average annual estimates for the period 2005-2009 and are calculated for persons aged 35 years and older. Smoking attributable healthcare expenditures are based on 2004 smoking attributable fractions and 2009 personal healthcare expenditure data. Deaths and expenditures should not be compared by state.

North Carolina Information

Learn more about your state specific legislation regarding efforts towards effective Tobacco Control.

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