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Health and Medicine


Ohio recieves bad grades on tobacco policy from the American Lung Association
Report gives bad marks on smoking prevention, taxes and cessation
Story by LYNDSEY SCHLEY


 
Ohio's smoking rate in currently 23 percent, above the national average.
Courtesy of Tomasz Sienicki
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The American Lung Association gave Ohio an A, a D and two Fs on its 2014 State of Tobacco Control report.

Shelly Kiser of the American Lung Association says Ohio’s smoking rate is currently 23 percent, 5 percent over the nationwide rate.

Ohio received Fs in the categories of funding of tobacco prevention and programs to help people stop smoking. Kiser says that is because Ohio spends only about $6 million for these programs, in comparison to the $145 million recommended by the CDC. Ohio also has no cessation counseling for Medicaid recipients, whose smoking rate is 42 percent.

Ohio’s cigarette tax, well below the national average, got a D and has not changed since 2005. Kiser says higher taxes reduce smoking rates.

KISER ON TOBACCO SOLUTIONS

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“It’s not one of those social problems where we don’t have the answers and we’re trying to figure out how to solve this problem," Kiser says. "So, it’s up to our lawmakers to answer this and come up with the political will to save the lives of the 19,000 Ohioans who die every year from tobacco-related diseases.”

Ohio did get an A in the smokefree-air category, due to strong public and workplace smoking restrictions.

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