North Carolina tobacco use prevention and cessation programs that began with the Health and Wellness Trust Fund will end June 30, 2012, unless our lawmakers act to continue these successful programs. That's why I just sent an email to Govenor Purdue and my state legislators asking them to continue to fund tobacco control programs and I want to urge you to do the same.
Recently, the US Surgeon General issued the 31st report on tobacco use. (You can download the report here.) It describes the epidemic of tobacco use among youth and young adults. According to the American Heart Association, "if we had sustained the reduction in youth tobacco use we achieved between 1997 and 2003, there could be 3 million fewer young smokers today. Almost no one starts smoking after age 25."
I sent my letter using the American Heart Association's You're the Cure advocacy network. The letter I sent states,
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death, killing more than 440,000 Americans each year. For every person that dies from tobacco use, another 20 suffer from one or more serious smoking-related illnesses. Early cardiovascular damage is seen in most young smokers; those most sensitive are at greater risk of dying very young. The reality is smokers live sicker and die younger.
North Carolina faces a big decision this year. We currently have the lowest teen smoking risk in our state's history. The tobacco use prevention and cessation programs that began with the Health and Wellness Trust Fund and were continued by the Dept. of Health and Human Services will end June 30, 2012, unless we act to continue the funding of this important work.
Let's continue to improve on NC's historically low youth smoking rates. Please write your state legislators and ask them to maintain the momentum by continuing to fund the state's tobacco control programs. It's really easy using the American Heart Association's Your the Cure advocacy network.