Teens gather at NC legislature to tout reduced teen smoking rates

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- More than 300 young people gathered at the
North Carolina Legislature to highlight successes in reducing teen
smoking rates while health lobbyists urged lawmakers to provide a
steady funding source again for prevention programs.

The event organized by the North Carolina Alliance for Health
brought together youth tobacco use prevention advocates statewide
to the Legislative Building on Thursday.

Legislators and health leaders praised teens for programs that
have helped reduced student smoking rates since 2003.

Health lobbyists attribute the drop to tobacco prevention
programs funded by the Health and Wellness Trust Fund, which held a
portion of North Carolina's share of the national tobacco
settlement. Lawmakers eliminated the fund, and tobacco prevention
and cessation programs received $17 million this year only. The
alliance wants the money to continue.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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