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    Fed’s Antismoking Efforts Get Passing Grade

    But Most States Continue to 'Fail Miserably,' Spokesman Says

    But Much More Could Be Done continued...

    “Medicaid recipients smoke at rates that are almost 60% higher than the general population, and the cost of not helping these smokers quit is sky high,” ALA Vice President for National Policy and Advocacy Paul Billings said Wednesday.

    Nationwide, about 36% of low-income Americans on Medicaid smoke, compared to about 22% of adults nationwide. Billings said about $1 of every $10 spent on health care under the federal program can be attributed to tobacco-related illness.

    “Millions of Americans will be able to receive needed help to quit smoking under the Affordable Care Act, but many of the people who need the help the most will slip through the cracks.”

    Eight States Get All F's

    The state-by-state report card included grades in four key areas: coverage of tobacco control programs at funding levels recommended by the CDC, coverage of smoking cessation treatments, passage of smoke-free air laws, and cigarette tax rates.

    Although no state received straight A’s, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, and Vermont had the best scores overall.

    Eight states received all F’s: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

    Other state-by-state highlights:

    • The three states that made the most progress in 2010 were Hawaii, which increased funding for tobacco prevention programs; Utah, which raised state cigarette taxes by $1; and Montana, which extended smoking cessation coverage to state employees.
    • 40 states and the District of Columbia received F’s for failing to fund tobacco control programs at 50% or more of the level recommended by the CDC.
    • Just two states, North Dakota and Alaska, fund such programs at 80% of the level recommended by the CDC.
    • The passage of state smoke-free air laws has slowed to a virtual halt. About half the states now have comprehensive laws aimed at protecting the public and workers from smoke. Only one new state, Kansas, passed such a law in 2010.

    The report, along with state-by-state scores and analysis, can be found on the ALA’s web site, www.lungusa.org.

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