Health advocates ask NC lawmakers to reconsider tobacco prevention budget cuts
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RALEIGH – Several health advocates are asking the state Senate to reconsider budget plans that would cut funding for tobacco prevention.
Tuesday morning, members of the Tobacco Reality Unfiltered or "T.R.U." commercials, along with the North Carolina Alliance for Health, voiced their concerns about the budget cuts.
They say without the more than $17 million they're requesting, more than 15,000 North Carolina students could be at risk for becoming addicted adult smokers.
"We're asking for the 17.3 to maintain the existing programs to maintain what we've got,” said Pam Seamans, executive director of the NC Alliance for Health. “What we've done is being successful and we want to maintain it, but it's disingenuous for the General Assembly to say the funds are not available.”
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, teen smoking dropped to a historic low last month at 15.5% for high schoolers. They credited statewide prevention programs for the drop in rates.