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Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch

NC Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch: Significant Accomplishments

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Smoke-free Workplaces and Public Places Legislation and Policies Passed

A chronological legislative and policy summary, starting with the most recent advances, follows:

Smoke-Free Restaurants and Bars Law

Prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars.  Requires smoke-free lodging facilities that serve food—(up to 20% of guest rooms may allow smoking). Very limited exemptions, including cigar bars that meet requirements; private clubs—country clubs or non-profit membership clubs. Allows local government authority to pass some further restrictions for all government grounds and other public places. Effective January 1, 2010.

Senate Bill 167

Prohibits smoking or the possession of tobacco products on the premises of NC correctional institutions.  Effective March 1, 2010.

House Bill 24

Prohibits (1) smoking in buildings owned, leased or occupied in state government; and (2) authorizes local governments to regulate smoking in buildings and transportation vehicles owned, leased or occupied by local governments.  Does not prohibit smoking in local government facilities, only allows them to adopt local regulations (partial repeal of preemption).  Also, this authorization applies only for local government buildings and transportation systems, not other public places.  Ratified and signed by Governor on July 8, 2007.  Effective January 1, 2008.

Senate Bill 862

Allows UNC constituent institutions to regulate smoking on campus buildings and grounds (100 linear feet from buildings).  Ratified and signed by Governor on June 27, 2007.  Effective July 1, 2007 (exception: in residence halls where smoking is allowed, legislation is effective at the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year, due to contracts already signed for the 07-08 academic year).  After January 1, 2008, UNC buildings will fall under HB 24 and are required to become smoke-free. They will still have the option to regulate smoking on grounds (described above).

Senate Bill 1086

Prohibits tobacco use in public school systems anywhere, anytime, by anyone—100% TFS policy.  Ratified and signed by Governor. Mandates that the remaining 26 school districts that have not currently passed a 100% TFS policy must adopt and enforce the policy by August 1, 2008.

House Bill 1294

Prohibits smoking in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, psychiatric institutions, etc.  Ratified and signed by the Governor. Effective October 1, 2007.

In addition to the legislative advances, in July, 2009 all 127 full service hospitals in NC became 100% tobacco free campus-wide following a 6 year campaign. This campaign was led by NC Prevention Partners, with funding from the Duke Endowment in partnership with the NC Hospital Association. 

Price of Tobacco Products

Increase in Tobacco Price 

North Carolina increased the cigarette tax from 5 cents to 35 cents per pack and other tobacco products tax from 3% to 10% of wholesale price in 2005.  In 2006, there was an 18% decline in consumption and a $110 million increase in state resources as a result of the cigarette tax increase.  In 2009, the cigarette tax increased to 45 cents; the 10 cent increase was not enough to impact smoking rates but does raise revenue. 

NC Tobacco Use Quitline

North Carolina launched a proactive, full service Quitline in November 2005. By 2015 QuitlineNC had reached 100,000 North Carolina tobacco users.

QuitlineNC funds are provided by the CDC, the N.C. General Assembly, as well as insurers, employers and local governments desiring to provide QuitlineNC services to their members, employees or residents.  

All 127 NC hospitals are 100 percent tobacco-free, including grounds. This work was done with a Duke Endowment funded grant and campaign led by NC Prevention Partners and the NC Hospital Association.

Health care providers may Fax referrals to QuitlineNC, and QuitlineNC will contact their patients directly. For more information, visit QuitlineNC.

NC State Health Plan (SHP) began covering Nicotine Replacement Therapy for state employees in 2006. Call volume and quit rates rose as a result. Providing NRT with QuitlineNC coaching services increased the SHP’s return on investment. For every dollar spent, the SHP saved $3.95.

Since launch QuitlineNC has enjoyed high satisfaction rates from its participants.

Fire Safe Cigarette Bill Passes in NC

This last success is an injury control success, but it is worth a mention that the House Bill 1785 – Fire-safe cigarette act – requires all cigarettes sold in NC to burn out quickly when left unattended.  Ratified and signed by the Governor. Effective January 1, 2010.

Prohibiting E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

Under G.S. § 14-313, NC prohibits selling, furnishing, giving, or providing tobacco products, or cigarette wrapping papers to anyone under the age of 18. In 2013, e-cigarettes were added to the law. The amended law became effective on August 1, 2013. See a copy of the law.

Regulating the Sale of E-Liquid Containers

Effective December 1, 2015, a new state law prohibits the sale of e-liquid containers without child-resistant packaging and requires a label for any e-liquid container that contains nicotine. The law creates a new Class A1 misdemeanor for a violation. Also, any person, firm, or corporation that violates the provisions of this law shall be liable in damages to any person injured as a result of the violation. See a copy of the law.