Report: North Carolina Failing To Prevent And Reduce Tobacco Use
A report from the American Lung Association says North Carolina should do more to prevent and reduce tobacco use.
The group's annual "Tobacco Control Report Card" gave the state an "F" in every category it measures: funding for tobacco prevention and control programs, tobacco taxes, smoke-free air, access to cessation services, and laws that raise the smoking age to 21.
The report says the state should reverse funding cuts to programs that help people quit smoking.
"We know that if you fund those programs, they can help prevent kids from starting smoking and help smokers quit. That saves lives and saves money, and it's one of the first steps to putting a dent in this issue," said June Deen, senior vice president of policy and programs at ALA of the Southeast.
Deen criticized the defunding of programs like QuitlineNC, a phone number that helps people quit smoking.
"Right now, their Quitline is working on about $1.1 million, and that's a small amount of funding for a state as large as North Carolina," Deen said.
The report also says the cigarette tax should increase by $1.00 per pack, and the smoke-free restaurants and bars law should expand to cover all public areas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 19 percent of adults in North Carolina are smokers, and 22.5 percent use tobacco in some form. That's slightly higher than the national average.