The research done for the UNC School of Medicine's Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program also shows that tobacco use dropped faster after media campaigns aimed at convincing teens not to use tobacco started.
"Relative to other major tobacco-producing states, our evaluation shows North Carolina's investment in youth tobacco prevention is substantial, and the positive outcomes that have resulted are truly encouraging," offered Dr. Adam Goldstein, UNC program director, in a statement released to the media.
The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund spends $17 million annually to fund tobacco use prevention and cessation programs for teens and college students, as well as QuitlineNC, a telephone support service for people who want to quit using tobacco.
The trust fund was created in 2000 to receive 25 percent of the state's share of a court settlement with tobacco companies.
Researchers say tobacco is still a major health concern. It says tobacco use remains high among young adults aged 18 to 24 who are not in college, a high number of youths still report frequent exposure to secondhand smoke, and a large number of adult smokers don't have insufficient support in quitting.