TRU program cut by 85% in new state budget
I am disappointed to inform you that the final state budget includes only $2.7M of the required $17.3M to keep local tobacco prevention programs such as our SADD but TRU program, the QuitlineNC, and all of our technical assistance providers such as guest speakers and resources provided at no cost to our county. This reflects not only an 85% cut to the program's funding – which is funded by the Master Settlement Agreement from the tobacco industry, not taxpayer dollars – but it is also a one-time allocation. The wording also specifically prohibits the use of state funding for the statewide TRU media campaign, including the popular and effective “TRU TV” commercials. It remains unseen how this funding will be appropriated, whether through the Department of Health and Human Services' Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch through a grant as it was this year, or reserved for local health departments to use at their discretion.
Boldly making a difference against teen tobacco, alcohol and drug use
The “SADD but TRU” program builds on the “Teens Against Tobacco Use” (TATU) clubs that have been established at middle and high schools for the past six years. The “SADD but TRU” program was launched last year and now includes education and activities about all destructive behaviors – not just tobacco, but also alcohol, drugs, and dangerous behaviors. “SADD” stands for “Students Against Destructive Decisions,” a national youth drug prevention group. “TRU” stands for “Tobacco. Reality. Unfiltered.” and is North Carolina’s youth-led teen tobacco use prevention movement. These two movements have joined forces here in Cherokee County to provide local preteens and teens more opportunities to educate their peers and the community about the dangers of abusing these substances. While we will highlight real-life dangers of drug abuse, the “SADD but TRU” program will not be sad – we will offer fun, interactive, age-appropriate activities that your child and his/her classmates will enjoy.
“SADD but TRU” is a partnership between Cherokee County Schools’ Tobacco Prevention Program and the Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Cherokee County. Extracurricular clubs are offered in cooperation with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
Drug-Free Quiz Bowl
The 2012 annual Drug-Free Quiz Bowl was held at Murphy Middle School. The Quiz Bowl is a positive, competitive event in which SADD but TRU members in grades 6-8 test their knowledge of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, legal and illegal drugs in a fast-paced, trivia game show-style format.
The 2011 winners were Murphy Middle School (above left), who defeated reigning champions of Martins Creek Middle School (above right). All of the schools supported their teams by making posters, creating and performing pep-rally style cheers, and wearing school colors, as evidenced by the Hiwassee Dam Middle School team (left).
What is SADD but TRU? The answers to this and other frequently asked questions can be found on our FAQ page HERE.
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SAVE THE TRU MOVEMENT!
ELIMINATES ALL FUNDING
for Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs
Call or Email Your Senator TODAY to Express Your
EXTREME Disappointment with the Senate's Budget Proposal
Urge them to sustain existing efforts with $17.3 million.
Without funding, youth smoking rates and health care costs will rise.
In the dead of night (11:45 pm Sunday), the Senate released its proposed budget adjustments for FY 2013. In a shortsighted move, the Senate proposed to cut ALL funding for the state's effective and award-winning tobacco prevention and cessation programs - programs which have resulted in the lowest youth smoking rates in state history (DPH Press Release). Tobacco use remains North Carolina's leading preventable cause of death, and preventing tobacco use is one of the best ways to reduce the staggering health care costs that drive our state budget deficits year in and year out.
The House budget proposal included $5.4 million for tobacco prevention and control programs and the Governor proposed a $10 million allocation for these programs. $17.3 million is required to maintain the existing efforts across the state to keep youth from starting to smoke and to help current smokers quit.
The Senate's proposed elimination of funding for these programs is even more outrageous considering the hundreds of millions of dollars the state brings in from the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). North Carolina received $141 million this year and the state will receive these payments for as long as the tobacco companies remain in business. It is not good fiscal policy to cut programs that take not one dime of taxpayer money yet save the state millions of taxpayer dollars that would otherwise be spent on health care costs.
Moreover, the Senate budget proposal begs the question: Whose side are they on? Under this proposal, our kids and our economy are the losers and the only winner is the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry spends $396 million every year promoting their products in our state. If these programs are eliminated, there will be nothing left to combat the tobacco industry's tremendous marketing expenditures.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, cutting NC's tobacco prevention and cessation programs from the current investment of $17.3 million to $0 will have the following health and financial impacts:
· An increase in youth smoking rates of 2.8%;
· 15,400 more kids will grow up to become addicted adult smokers;
· 5,530 more kids will grow up to die prematurely from smoking;
· Future healthcare expenditures in state will increase by $269.5 million. State Medicaid healthcare spending alone will increase by $28.5 million.
For additional information, see:
Contact your Senator TODAY!
Urge the Senate to reverse course and
FULLY FUND tobacco prevention and cessation programs at $17.3 million a year.
Anything less is a disservice
to our youth and NC taxpayers!
To Send Your Email:
Click Here to find the email address for your senator.
Dial 919-733-4111 and ask for the name of your
Senator to be transferred.
If you are not sure of the name of your Senator, check the General Assembly's website at:
On this page, you may look up your representative or senator by district number, by County, or by Zip Code +4.
Additional Resources on Preserving NC's Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs:
Sign the Alliance Resolution Supporting Tobacco Use Prevention Funding! Now capable of taking signatures directly on-line.
SADD but TRU
HIWASSEE VALLEY POOL
& WELLNESS CENTER
Monday, May 28
11:00 AM-3:00 PM
All proceeds benefit the SADD but TRU scholarship fund
*Bring a swimsuit, towel, and change
of clothes because it’s gonna get ugly
For more information, call 837-6102
National celebrity Terrie Hall coming
to Cherokee County on April 30!
View Terrie's commercial at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zWB4dLYChM&feature=player_embedded
You can also watch more of Terrie's story at "TRU Stories," found on the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund website: http://www.healthwellnc.com/trustories/default.
Your presence is cordially requested at an exclusive press conference and workshop for local and state leaders of government, community, education, and business.
Making a TRU Difference:
Tobacco Prevention and Smoke-Free Policies for Communities, Government, and Businesses
Monday, April 30, 2012
Tri-County Community College
McSwain Building, Lecture Hall, Room 132
You have been identified as a leader whom we would like to include in this critical discussion. With the release of the U.S. Surgeon General’s latest report on smoking and health, increased clean air protection laws, FDA regulation of tobacco products, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent annually treating preventable tobacco-related illness in an already strapped economy, proactive leaders are taking a hard look at developing smoke-free policies. Those who don’t may be left behind, or face serious consequences in the future.
Please join our panel of experts as we discuss the impact of tobacco use on our communities, businesses, government entities, and our youth. Healthcare professionals will address the real risks associated with tobacco use. Those who have implemented effective smoke-free policies will share their successes. Local teens actively participating in evidence-based youth tobacco prevention education and cessation will reveal the impact of tobacco on our future. You’ll have an opportunity to ask your toughest questions. It’s an insightful discussion you won’t want to miss.
Light refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP to Cindi Herr, tobacco prevention coordinator, at email@example.com, or call (828) 837-6102.
Sponsored by the North Carolina Alliance for Health, Cherokee County Schools’ tobacco prevention program, and the Cherokee County Public Health Department.
Health services finds funding to keep program alive
By LIZZ HAROLD
The N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund was dissolved under the new state budget that came into effect
July 1. More than 50 percent of the agency’s funds – the state’s portion of a national tobacco lawsuit settlement
– went toward tobacco education in schools.
It was “down to the 11th and-a-half hour” said Cindi Herr, tobacco prevention coordinator for Cherokee and
Graham counties, when she got word that the program would be financed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
“The teen tobacco prevention and cessation initiative, of which we were a part, yielded $8.35 per every $1 invested. That is phenomenal. ... Despite this information, and all of the data on the hundreds of thousands of children served by our programs, the legislature voted to disband the trust fund and eliminate our programs,” Herr said.
It was less than a week before the new fiscal year began, and coordinators were informed they had been given an additional year to continue their campaigns. It was granted to give the programs the final year of their three-year grant cycle.
Now operating under the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control branch, $100,000 will be shared between Cherokee and Graham counties in the 2011-12 school year.
There are about 350 club members in grades 5-12 who are involved in peer-to-peer education and community awareness projects. Graham County has one staff person and about 50 students.
“We are in the process of hiring new personnel. We’re putting new leaders in place next year,” Herr said. “We are not going to see any decrease in the students we serve or the schools we are in.”
SADD but TRU, (Students Against Destructive Decisions and Tobacco. Reality. Unfiltered.), has caught on with the student population. About 100 students attended last year’s quiz bowl where different schools competed in a battle of knowledge of tobacco, drug and alcohol facts.
Ambassadors from each club were voted upon by their peers to attend the Western North Carolina Teen Institute in June in Mars Hill. Eight students and two supervisors traveled to Mars Hill College for a week of leadership and media literacy training.
The students wrote, shot and edited a short commercial about the regrets associated with alcohol abuse. Three students gave brave personal testimonials of what they, or people they’ve been close to, have experienced because of alcoholism.
“In the fall of 2009, me, my mom and her friend were hit by a drunk driver. There were no injuries, but if you don’t do it you won’t regret,” Jessie Bryson, 16, said in the video featurette titled “No Regrets.”
Rising Hiwassee Dam High School freshman Ryan Turner, 14, discussed the physical violence he endured from an alcoholic father. “His abuse of alcohol created my abuse,” Turner said.
The commercial will be aired on a local television station and will be shown throughout the school system.
It also can be viewed by searching “SADD but TRU” at www.youtube.com.
With the ambassadors’ videography experience, Herr hopes to have them lead other students in creating their own similar public service announcements next year.
Students promote tobacco-free school zone
On May 11, SADD but TRU students at Ranger Elementary/Middle School held a parent outreach during drop-off, providing literature about secondhand smoke and holding up posters, aided by the school mascot and club mascot Ciggy Butts. The event emphasized the importance of not only keeping the campus clean, but of not smoking around children.
The outreach was in response to a litter clean-up the club performed in March, in which the students collected 933 pieces of litter, including 320 cigarette butts and two beer bottles. The students were appalled. The campus had been wiped clean in October 2009. It was the highest yield of cigarette butts on an elementary or middle school campus in the shortest length of time.
“With this being a well-advertised tobacco-free campus, as are all our schools in North Carolina, this amount of cigarette litter was unacceptable,” tobacco prevention coordinator Cindi Herr said. “The students decided that something needed to be done to call attention to the situation.”
Students in grades 4-8 made dozens of posters, as well as a cardboard cigarette that displayed all of the filters that had been collected. A table of chemicals found in secondhand smoke sat next to the entrance to the school. A garbage can was placed at the curb for proper disposal of trash.
“We hopefully helped parents do the right thing and not to litter on our property,” said Brittany Simms, a sixth-grader who has been in the club for two years.
“It was a lot of fun going outside with all of those parents – dancing, yelling, and singing. Also I was with my friends, who were cheering with me,” said Sarah Webber, also in sixth-grade.
“I liked trying to convince people to stop doing drugs and smoking. I liked coming and learning about smoking and drugs,” said fifth-grade student Madison Crisp. “I learned that smoking can take away your voice box and you really, really regret it.”
The response from the parents was overwhelmingly supportive, and school officials said the outreach went well.