CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina receiving failing grades in its efforts to control tobacco use, according to a new report released by the American Lung Association.
Tobacco is one of North Carolina's biggest industries, but it also brings along some deadly consequences. Smoking kills about 1,300 people every day. The American Lung Association's new report argues not enough is being done to save lives.
The "State of Tobacco Control" report gives North Carolina an F in every category, which includes prevention, access to services that help people quit and smoke-free air. North Carolina also got a "thumbs down" for having the fourth-lowest tobacco tax in the U.S. The Tar Heel State was one of only four states to get straight F's in the report.
South Carolina also got an F in nearly every category. Now, groups across the country are calling for more funding to help folks get away from the bad and unhealthy habit. Despite efforts to get people to quit, American Lung Association officials say the tobacco industry is ramping up its efforts to target specific demographics.
"They are targeting the southeast in particular, but also certain racial and ethnic groups to continue to use their products," Ashley Lyerly, the senior director of advocacy for the American Lung Association, said. "We know it is ultimately hurting not only our economy, the cost of these products, but also increasing chronic disease and other things across the state of North Carolina."
The American Lung Association is calling for the North Carolina General Assembly to make big changes, including increasing funding for tobacco control education programs and adding more restrictions on e-cigarette devices, which are often popular with kids.
But it likely wouldn't come without a fight. tobacco has been a key industry in the Carolinas for centuries producing billions of cigarettes every year.
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