Members of the TRU (Tobacco.Reality.Unfiltered.) Club at Richmond Senior High School are thanking their fathers for the influence they have had in keeping them from smoking and for protecting them from secondhand smoke.
Tobacco use among men remains a serious problem: 23 percent of American men currently smoke, and more than 269,000 die each year from smoking.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (TFK), more than 6,400 North Carolina young people have already lost their Dads to smoking. This number increases by 910 each year.
TFK estimates that North Carolina pays $54.6 million annually in Supplemental Security Income to support children who have lost their fathers to smoking.
“Increasing the price of cigarettes is one of the most effective ways to encourage anyone to quit smoking or discourage them from starting,” says Blaire Dawkins, a RSHS senior. “Many states have done this by increasing the cigarette tax.”
The N.C. Institute of Medicine recommends increasing North Carolina’s 45-cent per pack cigarette tax to the national average (now $1.34) and increasing taxes on other tobacco products to match it. Another proven way to increase smoking cessation is to pass laws that do not allow smoking in public places. North Carolina law removes smoking from restaurants and bars and allows local governments to do more.
“We’re celebrating all fathers who encourage their teens not to smoke and protect them from secondhand smoke,” says Dawkins. “We hope dads who do smoke will try to quit, for the sake of their health their children.”
The RSHS TRU Club is part of the TRU (Tobacco.Reality.Unfiltered.) movement, a teen tobacco prevention effort funded by the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund. This youth tobacco prevention and cessation initiative includes grants to community organizations, including a grant to FirstHealth of the Carolinas.
Anyone who needs help to quit smoking can call QuitlineNC at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Quit coaches are available 8 a.m. until 3 a.m. daily. Calls are free and confidential.
Tobacco. Reality. Unfiltered., commonly known as TRU, uses testimonials of real North Carolina teens as well as hard-hitting facts to dissuade young people from using tobacco. Funded at $65 million from HWTF, this grassroots initiative includes the TRU media campaign, as well as a grant programs to organizations working in all 100 counties to reduce teen tobacco use. To find out more about TRU, visit www.realityunfiltered.com.
About the N.C. Health And Wellness Trust Fund
The NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund makes North Carolina stronger, both physically and economically, by funding programs that promote preventive health. Created by the General Assembly in 2000 to allocate a portion of North Carolina's share of the national tobacco settlement, HWTF has invested $199 million to support preventive health initiatives and $116 million to fund prescription drug assistance programs. For more information, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.healthwellnc.com/" \o "http://www.healthwellnc.com/" www.HealthWellNC.com.