Walter's generation is growing up knowing exactly how unhealthy smoking is. Yet in the last statewide survey in 1999, 38 percent of high-school students used tobacco, numbers that had increased more than 40 percent since 1992, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. . .
Yet North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that doesn't use state money for tobacco use prevention. . .
More young people are working to stop smoking and dipping here than ever before, Martin said. Some work through student groups, some through community youth leadership groups, some through the state-sponsored anti-smoking ads that have been airing on the radio and Web site StepUpNC. In the past several years, well over 5,000 N.C. high-school students have learned how to warn preteens about smoking through the TATU (Teens Against Tobacco Use) program sponsored by the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. Raven and Walter went to a statewide youth summit on tobacco last winter designed to pump students up and send them back to their high schools to fight tobacco.
A three-year, $2 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is financing three regional centers, one of them in Durham, to train North Carolina teenagers to work in tobacco prevention starting in April. Across the state, said Sally Malek, head of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch for the state, more students are asking for stricter anti-tobacco policies at schools, and for help for kids who want to quit.
Raleigh News & Observer (Mar 1, 2001), by Staff writer Susan Kinzie