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Utah gets low grade for curbing tobacco use

By Courtney Orton | Posted - Jan. 20, 2011 at 6:52 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Smoking is the nation's single most preventable cause of disease and death. A new report by the American Lung Association grades states on what they're doing to help smokers kick the habit.

Utah: State of Tobacco Control 2010

Grade Category
FTobacco prevention control and spending
ASmoke-free air
CCigarette tax
DCessation
<a href=http://www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org/state-grades/utah/state-summary.html>American Lung Association</a>

Utah gets an F for tobacco prevention and control spending. Total funding is expected to be about $8.6 million in 2011. Forty other states and the District of Columbia failed in that category, too.

For smoke-free air, Utah gets an A.

In July of last year, Utah raised the cigarette tax from 69 cents to $1.70 a pack, getting a thumbs up from the American Lung Association but only a C grade.

And in cessation efforts, Utah gets a D. The American Lung Association's overview of funding for programs shows there's not enough being done.

Dr. Cheryl Healton of the American Legacy Foundation said, "If people continue to smoke, it's extremely costly to state Medicaid programs as well as to health insurance programs overall, not to mention terribly devastating for their health."

The report gives the federal government a B for giving the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate the tobacco industry. The FDA has banned flavored cigarettes and unveiled new graphic warnings that will be added to cigarette labels next year.

Nationwide smoking rates have been falling, but over the last few years they've stalled among children and adults.

The goal is to get more people to kick the habit or never start in the first place.

You can see more of the report here.

E-mail: corton@ksl.com

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Courtney Orton

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