|North Carolina just received a payment of $167 million from tobacco companies as part of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). This is $27 million more than the average payment, and more than enough to spend $17 million to once again fund tobacco use prevention programs in our state. |
The MSA was an agreement between major cigarette manufacturers and the attorneys general from 46 states, including North Carolina. As a result of the agreement, every year, in perpetuity, the tobacco companies send the states funds. The MSA clearly states that its primary purpose is to decrease youth smoking and promote public health.
With the recent spike in e-cigarette use by youth, the time to act to protect our young people’s health is now. The use of e-cigarettes by high schoolers increased a staggering 1129% since 2011, and it could have been prevented with $17 million in funding for tobacco use prevention programs.
Of note, most tobacco users, including high school e-cigarette users, want to quit. Unfortunately, QuitlineNC doesn’t have to resources to provide full, evidence-based services to everyone who reaches out. Please contact your legislators and ask them to include $17 million in recurring funds for tobacco use prevention programs and $3 million in recurring funds for cessation services in the budget.
This is a pay now or pay later situation. Let’s pay now and save lives and money.