June, Tobacco Taxes and Diversity

June is almost over. Good. It’s been too many days of 95 degree weather. Last week, my car temperature read 100 day after day. Every night, at home, I look at the plants and cringe. I weeded over the weekend, dripping with sweat but determined not to be intimidated. Eventually, the heat won.

UNC Poll: Support for increased tobacco taxes

Our state is suffering continued budget shortfalls, and the UNC system is about to receive another round of cuts. Social and other NC services also will feel the cumulative blow of multiple years of cuts. It’s encouraging that over 50% of our citizens say they support increased tobacco taxes, according to a poll taken by our Survey Research Center. This means that legislators could take action both to reduce cigarette smoking and to increase revenues. We are way behind other states in cigarette taxes.

Latest UNC poll finds support growing to increase NC cigarette sales tax
The Herald Sun (Chapel Hill)

Raising taxes typically is not a popular idea, but the option of increasing cigarette sales tax has been gaining momentum in North Carolina for the past several years. Now, the latest poll conducted by UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health suggests that nearly half (47.3 percent) of the state’s residents favor increasing the tax on a pack of cigarettes from the current 45 cents to the national average of $1.34. [complete article]

Volunteers needed for diversity and inclusion efforts

Hope you will read more about what we are trying to do to increase diversity and inclusion in the School. I am so pleased that Bob Millikan, PhD, Barbara Sorenson Hulka Distinguished Professor in Cancer Epidemiology,  agreed to chair the Task Force and that Rumay Alexander, EdD, RN, will be a special consultant to the effort. Read more here. This effort is really important to the future of the School, and they are great assets.

I’ve gotten some interesting questions about the Task Force. A very thoughtful faculty member said he was inclined to participate but didn’t know if any more white men were needed. It was a very sensitive comment, and I am glad he shared it with me. In preparing for the Task Force, I spoke to a number of ethnic minority men and women. Some of my own preconceptions were changed through these discussions that influenced my notions of who should chair the Task Force, who should participate and how the process should work.

Yes, we need white men (and women) to participate. We also need Black men and women, Hispanic men and women, American Indian men and women, people from other countries and cultures, those with disabilities, people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. We also want students, staff, faculty, alumni, and others. Inclusion means a big tent, and none of these categories are meant to exclude anyone. If we are going to talk openly and productively about what’s gotten in the way and what we can do in the future, the tent has to hold a lot of different people.

Stay cool! Happy Monday! Barbara

Tagged  DITF, tobacco

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