North Carolina is spending $1.1 million on tobacco control programs, but the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit advocacy group, claims that the state may not be doing enough to educate residents on the risks of smoking.
The group recently issued a report that hinges on three sets of data: money allocated to states as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, money spent by states on tobacco control programs, and CDC spending recommendations for those programs in each state.
John Schachter, the group’s director of state communications, explained that a national gross of “over $26 billion” was accrued by states during the last fiscal year from tobacco-related taxes and settlement money, but “only $493 million” went toward initiatives intended to limit the harmful effects of tobacco use.
The CDC advises North Carolina to allocate an amount between $69 million and $99 million for these initiatives, but the state currently allocates $1.1 million despite having received $435 million in tobacco money during the last fiscal year. This puts state spending toward tobacco control at one to two percent of federal recommendations.
The only state in full compliance with the CDC on these matters is North Dakota, which allocates $9.9 million toward a recommendation of $9.8 million. New Jersey does not allocate any money toward tobacco control programs, making it the least compliant state.
Though state spending on tobacco control programs may be low, Schachter admitted that smoking has become less popular over the past eight years due to “an increase in the federal tobacco tax” and “aggressive media campaigns” from both the CDC and non-profit groups like Truth Initiative.
With over 20 states currently allocating less than ten percent toward CDC recommendations for tobacco control programs, only time will tell if Schachter’s group will achieve its goal of bringing about the first tobacco-free generation.