NC Receives Failing Tobacco Control Grade, Official Blames E-Cigs In Part

Klaus Kneale
by Klaus Kneale
January 27, 2014

3345998000_d82f5acb6b_oThe American Lung Association recently released its State of Tobacco Control report for 2014.  North Carolina hasn’t really ever received a decent grade in tobacco control from the organization.  Still, that didn’t stop a local authority from blaming, among other things, the existence of electronic cigarettes for the bad grade.

David Willard, Northwest Tobacco Prevention Coordinator for the Appalachian District Health Department, blamed the smoking rate in one particular county as a leading culprit in the failing grade.  Ashe county has an adult smoking rate of 24% — well above the national and state average.  He went on to blame the high smoking rate in that county on the prevalence of electronic cigarettes.

According to Willard, “The real concern with these is that they come in all flavors, which appeals to youth.  The electronic cigarette may also be seen as a gateway to begin smoking traditional cigarettes, since they still contain the addictive component of cigarettes (nicotine).”

The American Lung Association provides its methodology and reasoning for the scores.  The big fat F’s North Carolina received were based largely on its own tobacco control efforts, not on the activities of its citizens.  For instance, the state taxes cigarettes far below what most other states do (ranking 45th out of 51 for cigarette taxes).  As well, government-funded quit programs and smoking regulations are lacking by comparison to other states.  The grade actually doesn’t take smoking rate within each state in consideration — rather, a state’s efforts to curb smoking is all that matters.

You can see North Carolina’s full report here.

Blaming electronic cigarettes for a high smoking rate is, for lack of a better term, silly.  Even if electronic cigarettes did contribute to a rising smoking rate (and all evidence seems to indicate that the opposite is true), the rapid growth of electronic cigarettes wouldn’t have made a serious ding against North Carolina’s hefty smoking rate.  If e-cigs were really to blame for smoking rates, most state would have noticed an up tick.  Instead, declining smoking rates have actually begun declining more rapidly in recent years (since e-cigs entered the scene).

Not only does Willard give away that he doesn’t actually understand the scoring of the American Lung Association’s report, but he is also clearly reaching for reasons to blame external forces for his state’s pitiful grade.  As is, the methodology pretty clearly explains the reasons a state would get such a poor score.


6 Responses to “NC Receives Failing Tobacco Control Grade, Official Blames E-Cigs In Part”

      Pro_Vape on January 27th, 2014 5:18 pm


        andrew on January 28th, 2014 12:54 am

        “The electronic cigarette may also be seen as a gateway to begin smoking traditional cigarettes, since they still contain the addictive component of cigarettes”

        BS BS BS BS BS BS!!!!
        “electronic cigarettes” were the gateway out of smoking for millions of people. im sitting here vaping my cinnamon red hot juice not smoking a cigarette you fools!! i havent pressed a cigarette to my lips in over 2 years. vaping is only the most powerful smoking cessation tool that have ever existed, and that is with all of the mis-information going around. imagine if the truth was spoken. stop the lies you ignorant fools. in fact i am now starting a vaping business vaping is big business worst nightmare and i want to be part of it. its built on small buisness but overall makes a huge industry.

          Brent on January 31st, 2014 11:50 am

          I don’t know about other people but I smoked cigs for 44 years. The MOMENT I vaped an ecig I quit smoking cigs immediately. Haven’t smoked a cig in 3 weeks, am coughing and wheezing less. Ecigs is the BEST smoking cessation device.

            Mickie Hall on January 31st, 2014 1:24 pm

            The scare tactics being used by those who are totally uneducated on the subject of ecigs would be almost comical if not so sad. For the first time in forever, an alternative to smoking is available and politics and the tobacco industry will do everything they can to keep from loosing $$$.
            If only they knew how stupid they look to those smart enough to do the research before they open their mouths.

              Tom Richards on February 6th, 2014 10:37 am

              I smoked for more than ten years before finally making up my mind to switch to vaping. From then onwards, I have never looked back. During my smoking days, I had to make regular visits to my doctor due to the constant coughs that never responded to medication. Vaping came as a reprieve and the visits I used to make almost on a weekly basis to my doctor have been reduced to one in every three months. I think those contemplating a ban on e cigars are not in touch with the reality.

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