American Lung Association: You all FAIL!!!

And you!

And you!

And you, too!

And you, three!!

The American Lung Association came out with its annual “State of Tobacco Control” report this week, and not surprisingly, pretty much every state got failing grades. In fact, Montana was only one of five states in the entire nation that got “passing grades” from the American Lung Association (The other four were Arkansas, Maine, Vermont and Oklahoma — Vermont and Maine are among the top states every year, but Arkansas and Oklahoma are a bit of a surprise).

The ALA grades in four categories — Anti-tobacco program spending, smokefree air, cigarette tax and cessation programs. Most states get Fs for program spending because most states do not spend nearly the amount of money on anti-tobacco programs as was recommended many years ago by the Centers for Disease Control after the 1998 settlement agreement between the states and the tobacco industry. The eight worst states (mostly in the South) were S. Carolina, N. Carolina, Alabama, West Virginia, Missouri, Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi. Two other states got three Fs and one D — Indiana and Texas. Most of these states have high smoking rates. (Strange that N. Carolina got an F for smokefree air because they have a pretty strong smoking ban in that state. Like I said, the ALA is harsh.).

Montana got Cs for anti-tobacco spending, cigarette tax and cessation programs. The ALA believes cigarette taxes should be at least $2 a pack, and Montana’s is $1.70, which is roughly around the national average. Montana does have a couple of really nice ad campaigns funded by the state (with the hard core Republican legislature in session this year, it will be interesting to see if the funding continues.) One is called reactmt, which targets teens and the other campaign Tobacco Free Montana, targets adults. Both are good, solid campaigns, but I fear they may be on the chopping block.

If you’re curious, click here to see how your state is doing.

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