Health Team

Study: N.C. failing in tobacco control

Posted January 13, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— North Carolina is failing in its tobacco-control laws and policies, according to an American Lung Association study released Tuesday.

Tobacco is linked to the top causes of preventable deaths in the United States, including heart disease and many cancers, and costs the country $193 billion annually.

Study: N.C. failing in tobacco control Report shows state lagging in tobacco control

The association evaluated the state in four categories:

  • Tobacco Control Program Funding – The state, along with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allotted about $18.5 million for 2009. The CDC’s best-practices level would be $106 million.
  • State Smoking Restrictions – The state has no provisions for private workplaces, childcare facilities, restaurants, bars, retail stores or recreational/cultural facilities.
  • Tobacco tax rate per pack of 20 cigarettes – North Carolina charges 35 cents, which is about 20 cents per pack to low. The ALA suggests 50 cents per pack in federal tax.
  • State Cessation Coverage – Under the state Medicaid program, various medications are covered for those trying to quit smoking. Counseling is not included, and minimal co-payments are required. Only certain medications are covered for state employees. Those employees also face limits on the duration of coverage and an annual limit on attempts to quit.

"The State of Tobacco Control 2008" report showed that about 23 percent of adults in North Carolina smoke.

Economically, smoking has cost the state $6.2 billion, a figure based on health expenditures in 2004 and annual loses in workers' productivity from 2000 through 2004.

Smoking contributed to an average of 12,264 deaths annually from 2000 through 2004, according to the report. About 4,000 North Carolinians died from lung cancer each year and about 3,100 from respiratory diseases in the same period.

North Carolina has succeeded in reducing youth smoking rates. The state passed a law in 2007 that required all schools to be tobacco free. The law took effect in August 2008.

The study showed that the high school smoking rate in the state was 23 percent and the middle school smoking rate was about 6 percent.

The state was one of 16 to receiving failing grades in the national study.

The report found that states that enact policies and programs – high tobacco-product taxes, prevention and cessation programs and comprehensive smoke-free laws – are likely to see financial benefits.

No state in the entire U.S. received solid A’s in this year’s report.

Nationally the report said Congress and President Bush failed to authorize the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation of tobacco products.

The report showed government’s policies on smoking cessation coverage are weak or non-existent.


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  • ct99246 Jan 22, 2009

    More than 50 studies show that human papillomaviruses cause over ten times more lung cancers than they pretend are caused by secondhand smoke. Passive smokers are more likely to have been exposed to this virus, so the anti-smokers' studies, because they are all based on nothing but lifestyle questionnaires, have been cynically DESIGNED to falsely blame passive smoking for all those extra lung cancers that are really caused by HPV.

    The anti-smokers have committed the same type of fraud with every disease they blame on smoking and passive smoking, as well as ignoring other types of evidence that proves they are lying, such as the fact that the death rates from asthma have more than doubled since their movement began.

    And it's a lie that passive smoking causes heart disease. AMI deaths in Pueblo actually ROSE the year after the smoking ban.

  • 68_polara Jan 15, 2009

    country not county

  • 68_polara Jan 15, 2009

    "cares about this country and wants America and Americans to succeed. He thinks about others besides himself."

    That was so touching it made me shed a tear. Not! As we slide more and more towards a socialistic county remember how quickly we sold our freedom.

  • scientistjo Jan 15, 2009

    I liked the idea posted above about smokers having to pay much higher rates for health insurance. Smoke all you want, but I'm tired of paying for you to be constantly sick and dying.

    And maddiesmom972, I am not poor, nor am I unintelligent, and I did not vote for Obama because of the color of his skin. I voted for him because he is a highly intelligent, highly motivated individual who cares about this country and wants America and Americans to succeed. He thinks about others besides himself. These qualities he does not share with our exiting president.

  • 68_polara Jan 15, 2009


    Do your thoughts apply to those who are over weight have dangerous hobbies such as sky diving or skiing etc.? Be careful of what you ask for because sometimes you get it. I don't want to see a time when our lives are monitored and only those in perfect health and do nothing but stay shut in their perfectly safe homes are eligible for affordable health insurance.

  • readme Jan 14, 2009

    Congratulations NC on failing a test that you absolutely should fail. Stay out of the business of taxing me to turn around and spend my money telling me what is good for me.

  • HowManyOunces Jan 14, 2009

    You want to smoke, fine. don't care if you want to kill yourself, but I'm tired of seeing health care costs go through the roof to take care of you. My father used to smoke and he got 3 times as often as normal people. Every little cold would turn into bronchitis or a sinus infection. I don't smoke and I have only been sick once in the last 2 years, but I have to pay the same amount in health insurance premiums as my smoker collegues. Maybe if they ban smokers from getting health insurance and free health care(especially tax supported programs) more people would think about what they are doing to their bodies. It's certainly each person's choice to smoke, but I'm tired of paying the price for other's stupidity.

  • bs101fly Jan 14, 2009

    we gotta have some kind of fun.
    and a quicker route to the "end"!!

  • 68_polara Jan 14, 2009

    "throw your lit butt out of a car window"

    Man that annoys me when they hit my car. If I ever get hit while on my bike there might be some road rage dished out.

    I wonder how much of this has to do with many automobiles these days don't have ashtrays?

  • Blues Man Z Jan 14, 2009

    I'm all for smoker's rights, just don't blow it my face, put your butt out on my driveway or neighborhood streets, or throw your lit butt out of a car window.