RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Cancer advocates from across North Carolina gathered at the Capitol Wednesday morning to rally for funding for the state’s youth tobacco prevention programs.
Advocates say the legislature’s current budget does not dedicate any money to prevention programs that have been proven in other states to reduce tobacco use among youth.
Advocates dropped off nearly 200 empty boxes at the legislature, representative of zero dollars in funding for prevention programs.
They say the CDC recommends North Carolina spend $99.3 million annually on tobacco prevention.
“Our kids are worth more than zero. With our state budget in surplus and an estimated $140 million collected from the tobacco industry annually, offering no support to prevent our kids from starting to use tobacco is shocking and downright dangerous. Failing to include such funding will cost our state more financially in the long-term and result in thousands of preventable deaths,” said John Tramontin, State Lead Ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in North Carolina.