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N.C. Tobacco Money to Fund Prevention

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue announced this week that at least $5 million dollars from the national tobacco settlement will be allocated to prevent youth smoking.

The announcement came just days after the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids criticized North Carolina for not using any of its share of a tobacco settlement to prevent youth from smoking.

The national tobacco settlement, a financial deal between 46 states, the District of Columbia and the tobacco industry, compensates states for money spent treating smoking-related illnesses. North Carolina will receive $4.6 billion over 25 years, according to the settlement.

North Carolina's settlement portion is split among the Health and Wellness Trust Fund and two groups geared toward helping the tobacco industry -- farmers and farming communities.

The Health and Wellness Trust Fund, which will fund the programs to prevent teen smoking, will receive 25 percent of the state's share of the settlement.

The campaign's report also stated that Tennessee, Michigan and the District of Columbia did nothing to prevent teenage smoking with their shares of the $206 billion settlement.

Joel Spivak, a media representative for the campaign that published the study, said the report holds little political weight. "We can't force the people in the North Carolina legislature to make tobacco legislation if they don't want it."
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