Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 440,000 Americans each year. It is also the leading cause of preventable death in North Carolina, and is primarily responsible for numerous deadly cancers and debilitating illnesses. Despite these facts, each year thousands of our state's young people begin using tobacco. However, since HWTF began funding teen tobacco use prevention and cessation efforts in 2003, middle school smoking has decreased by 51.6% and high school smoking has decreased by 30.4% (North Carolina Youth Tobacco Survey, 2007). This translates into 34,000 fewer teen smokers since 2003. These are the lowest cigarette use rates for middle (4.5%) and high school (19.0%) students ever recorded in our state.
Evidence shows that comprehensive community and school-based programs combined with mass-marketing efforts effectively prevent or postpone the onset of youth smoking. HWTF’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Initiative (TUPC) leads the effort to accomplish the Commission’s primary preventive health goal as defined by the General Assembly.
Below are the total HWTF budget allocations for overall tobacco efforts:
- $6.2 million in 2002
- $10.9 million in 2003
- $10.9 million in 2004
- $15 million in 2005
- $15 million in 2006
- $17.1 million annually from 2007-2008
- $18 million annually in 2009