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The Daily Tar Heel

N.C. Anti-Tobacco Funding Ranks 47th in Nation

The study also stated that North Carolina has the 12th highest death rate from tobacco use in the nation.

The study recommends that a minimum of 6 percent of all tobacco settlement funds be used on tobacco prevention or cessation programs.

North Carolina is to receive a settlement of more than $161 million in 2001 from a lawsuit filed by several states against large tobacco corporations in 1999.

But the state has yet to earmark any of that money for anti-tobacco programs.

Derek Chernow, communications director for N.C. Lieutenant Gov. Beverly Perdue, said such programs are in the works even though they are not yet funded.

Jim Martin, state adviser of Preventing Teen Tobacco Use, said the CDC recommended that North Carolina spend $42 million on tobacco prevention but that the state has not allocated that much money. "Three million dollars is currently provided for tobacco prevention," he said. "About $1.7 million is coming through the CDC. The rest is from short-term grants."

A study done by the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville stated that half of North Carolina's tobacco settlement goes to fund Golden LEAF, a foundation set up to aid individuals and communities based on tobacco economies.

The remaining money is evenly divided between trust funds for tobacco industry workers and tobacco-related issues.

But a spokeswoman for Golden LEAF said tobacco prevention is not the purpose of the organization. "We support individuals and communities as they switch from a tobacco economy to other forms."

But Richard Clayton, director of the Center for Prevention Research at the University of Kentucky, said he thinks tobacco prevention is the best use of settlement funds. "If the money is not going towards reducing use and cessation then the settlement money will have virtually no impact."

Clayton said powerful interest groups have redirected the tobacco settlement money from its original purpose and that the CDC's expenditure recommendations are reasonable. "The CDC was offering a modest level of funding. It didn't insist that all the money goes to prevention and cessation," he said. "In most states, governors and legislatures were not willing to jump over that bar."

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