Thank you for your article on smoking prevention and the North Carolina tobacco settlement. I am not an North Carolina native, having moved here in 2000 to complete a psychology internship at the VA hospital in Durham. I learned to administer smoking cessation therapy at the VA, and became interested in anti-smoking efforts.
In addition to teen smoking prevention, I believe that teens and young adults need smoking cessation services. That is, if 38 percent of North Carolina high-school students smoke, they should stop as soon as possible to avoid the negative health consequences. Research clearly indicates that young smokers do not expect to be smoking for long, but then have difficulty stopping. I briefly investigated funding options to support smoking cessation efforts, and learned that virtually all of the tobacco settlement money North Carolina receives is being spent on the tobacco industry to fund absurd projects such as ensuring the construction of a new tobacco processing plant. I was appalled and realized immediately that the tobacco settlement is controlled by good ol' boys who are not interested in reducing smoking in this state. So I thank you for calling attention to this important problem that could eventually promote death and disability for thousands of men and women in North Carolina.
--JOEL W. HUGHES, PH.D. DURHAM
A graphic accompanying last week's story "An Ounce of Prevention" had some incorrect figures for the state's share of the tobacco-settlement. Of the $4.6 billion the state will receive over the next 25 years, $3.45 billion will go to tobacco growers, farmers and communities and $1.15 billion will go to health.
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