Study: N.C. parents want tobacco use prevention to become higher priority

(Embargoed) CHAPEL HILL North Carolina parents strongly favor making tobacco use prevention a higher priority across the state, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows.

More than 90 percent of parents surveyed thought it very important for policymakers to take more steps to prevent and reduce tobacco use among N.C. children and adolescents, the study found.

"Over 85 percent of parents asked strongly supported making schools 100 percent tobacco free," said Dr. Adam O. Goldstein, associate professor of family medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and director of its Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program. "Almost 85 percent also favored making all indoor recreational areas and fast-food restaurants tobacco free."

The new research was based on data from the N.C. State Center for Health Statistics, which monitors residents' healthy and unhealthy behaviors statewide. Specifically, the information came from the center's latest surveillance system, the Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Program (CHAMP), begun this year to measure health characteristics of children from birth to age 17. Topics covered in the survey include breast feeding, health care access, oral, mental and physical health, nutrition, physical activity and parents' opinions about tobacco, obesity and other issues.

"While North Carolina remains the largest tobacco-producing state in the country, this data shows policy-makers that the great majority of North Carolina families support stronger regulations on tobacco," Goldstein said.

Over two-thirds of respondents supported a boost in the state excise tax on cigarettes as a way to reduce youth tobacco use, he said. The current N.C. budget supports a 25-cent increase in the tobacco excise tax, with an additional 5 cents by July 2006.

"Families support legislation that raises the tobacco excise tax, support steps to boost protection from second-hand smoke exposure and support investm

Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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