RALEIGH, NC – Today, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a state budget that included a proposal to establish a new revenue fund for the $40 million that North Carolina received as part of the settlement with e-cigarette company JUUL.
The below statement can be attributed to Derwin Montgomery, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Government Relations Director in reaction.
"Today’s proposal to dedicate $21 million in JUUL settlement funds to protecting kids and teens from tobacco marks a historic move for North Carolina. The dangerous popularity of e-cigarettes among kids continues to threaten our progress in the fight against youth tobacco use as kids and teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to move toward a lifetime of addiction to cigarettes.
"We applaud the House for taking this important step in the right direction amidst today’s youth tobacco epidemic. North Carolina can be the first state to direct JUUL settlement funds to tobacco prevention and cessation programs that have been proven to keep kids and teens from starting to use tobacco and help those already addicted to quit, setting a new precedent for other states to follow suit.
"Still, such programs are only effective when well-funded. For over nine years, our state has dedicated less than 3% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended funding for tobacco prevention and cessation. Today’s proposed investment by the House represents an important first step towards restoring funding for these vital programs. We need adequate funding to truly rewrite our state’s long history of severely underfunding youth tobacco prevention and cessation programs – and effectively counteract the roughly $383 million that Big Tobacco spends each year in the state to market their deadly and addictive products.
On behalf of all families affected by cancer and concerned parents across the state, we urge the legislature to follow through on their promise to protect kids and teens against a shrewd, billion-dollar industry whose mission it is to addict them to addictive, deadly tobacco products and include the full tobacco prevention and cessation funding as passed by the House in the final budget."
ACS CAN is advocating for the conference committee to include $21 million toward tobacco prevention and cessation programs as well as $1.85 million for the state tobacco Quitline in the final budget for the fiscal year.