The Lung Association worked closely with public health partners, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and the North Carolina Alliance for Health to urge the governor and general assembly to include a recurring appropriation of at least $17.3 million in the fiscal year 2013 budget for efforts to reduce tobacco use.
The North Carolina General Assembly moved quickly to pass the budget which required swift action from tobacco control advocates. The governor's proposed fiscal year 2013 budget was released early in the 2012 General Assembly and to the disappointment of tobacco control advocates, included a $7.3 million cut to tobacco prevention and cessation programs appropriating just $10 million. Unfortunately, the House and Senate joint budget was far worse and appropriated only $2.7 million for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, a $14.6 million reduction. Advocates commended the Governor's decision to veto the House-Senate joint budget, however, the veto was overridden and the state's $2.7 million non-recurring investment in tobacco control programs was upheld.
The severe cuts to tobacco control spending came as a disappointment to many North Carolinians. In fact, in February 2012 a new poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies was released which made it clear that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of North Carolina voters support dedicating at least $17 million from Master Settlement Agreement funding to programs to prevent kids from starting to smoke and help smokers quit.
The Lung Association is dedicated to protecting and restoring this lifesaving funding. According to a report released by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the youth impacts from cutting tobacco prevention funding to $2.7 million will mean:
- A 2.3 percent increase in youth smoking rates
- 12,990 more state kids growing up to become addicted adult smokers
- 4,670 kids growing up to dieprematurely from smoking
- A $227.3 million increase in future healthcare expenditures for the state
- $24 million increase in the state's Medicaid healthcare spending
In 2013, the American Lung Association in North Carolina will continue to work with public health advocates and key leaders to address the severe cuts the state has seen to its tobacco control funding and will seek to identify new and existing revenue to bolster these lifesaving programs as well as continue to work with communities to protect current tobacco control laws.
|•||Economic Cost Due to Smoking:||$6,281,486,000|
|•||Adult Smoking Rate:||21.7%|
|•||High School Smoking Rate:||17.7%|
|•||Middle School Smoking Rate:||4.2%|
|•||Smoking Attributable Deaths:||12,264|
|•||Smoking Attributable Lung Cancer Deaths:||4,027|
|•||Smoking Attributable Respiratory Disease Deaths:||3,142|
Adult smoking rate is taken from CDC's 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking rate is taken from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System. Middle school smoking rate is taken from the 2011 Youth Tobacco Survey.