Regarding the May 2 Point of View “Restore tobacco-use prevention programs”: Now that the North Carolina legislature announced a surplus of $400 million, there is no substantive justification why the House and Senate would choose not to fund tobacco-use prevention programs.
With the recent spike in e-cigarette use by youth, the time to act to protect our children’s health is now. The use of e-cigarettes by high school students increased a staggering 352 percent in just two years, and it could have been prevented with just $7 million in funding for tobacco-use prevention programs.
E-cigarette use is especially dangerous because there has been little research on the long-term effects of the chemicals in these nicotine inhalers. Additionally, e-cigarettes are not regulated so the tobacco industry has free rein to market e-cigarettes however that industry chooses.
That e-cigarette juice is available in many child-friendly candy and fruit flavors makes these products even more attractive to young people. We must stop tobacco and e-cigarette use before it becomes even more rampant.
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North Carolina must invest the $400 million surplus wisely and protect the health of our youth by restoring funding for tobacco-use prevention programs.