Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding in North Carolina

Tobacco Prevention Funding Saves Lives and Reduces Health Care Costs


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network requests appropriation of $50 million recurring to DHHS Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch to restore evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation programs to save lives and mitigate health care costs. 

The budget for SFYE 2016 included $950 thousand recurring appropriation for the Quitline NC, There is NO funding provided for youth tobacco prevention programs.  North Carolina ranks 45th in the US in funding for these programs.

North Carolina joined 45 other states and sued tobacco manufacturers for damages, including Medicaid expenses, caused by tobacco use.  In 1998, the states settled the matter, which is known as the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).  The MSA required the tobacco industry to submit annual payments to the states to compensate and remedy the adverse health impact and financial toll of tobacco use, so North Carolina receives approximately $140 million each year from the MSA. 

The $50 million appropriation request is minimal compared to the overall tobacco revenue North Carolina receives annually.  This year North Carolina will collect $412.5 million in revenue from the MSA and tobacco tax revenue. Tobacco companies spend $392.2 million this year in North Carolina to market their products. North Carolina must invest and protect our children from becoming smokers and users of other tobacco products.

The Health and Wellness Trust Fund funded tobacco prevention and cessation from 2003-2011, resulting in significant decreases in teens’ use of tobacco:  middle school use was cut by 1/2; high school use was cut by 1/3. 

North Carolina Medicaid Program pays $931 million in excess medical care for tobacco related illnesses each year.  Total annual healthcare costs directly related to smoking are $3.8 billion annually in North Carolina.

 20.4 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked by North Carolina kids each year.

180,000 youth now under 18 and alive in the North Carolina will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.

Dedicating funding to tobacco prevention programs is one of the smartest and most fiscally responsible investments that North Carolina can make.  

Our kids are worth more than zero!