CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – North Carolina residents who are lighting up can soon start lining up to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Wednesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced the state will move into Group 4 of the vaccine rollout on March 24.
The expanded grouping includes front-line workers, those with high-risk medical conditions and smokers. According to the CDC, a smoker is someone who has had 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.
“How are you supposed to prove that you’ve had 100 cigarettes is my question?” asked one Gaston County man.
We took that question to state officials.
“Individuals can self-attest to the criteria (e.g., age, job role, health status, living situation) that they qualify for eligible priority groups,” said Catie Armstrong with the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
Smokers are included in the CDC’s guidelines due to their increased risk of complications due to COVID-19.
“I just think there’s other things they can do for their health, like quit smoking,” said one woman in Belmont.
North Carolina has a rich history with tobacco. The state produces more tobacco than any other state in the country.
According to the CDC, 17.4 percent of North Carolina residents smoke. That’s above the national average of 14 percent.