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Kentucky Gets Failing Grades On Tobacco Control Report Card

By Sheila AshThe American Lung Association is releasing its annual tobacco control report card results today. Kentucky is one of eight states that received a failing grade in all levels of tobacco control policies. They include smoke-free air laws, higher cigarette taxes, tobacco prevention and cessation programs.However, Kentucky did make a substantial improvement in access to cessation treatments for its Medicaid recipients by allocating $1.5 million for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.Paul Billings, Vice President of National Policy and Advocacy for the association, says that’s important, given the national numbers."Current studies find that Medicaid recipients smoke at rates almost 60 percent higher than the general population. And the cost of not helping these smokers quit is sky high," he said.Billings says one out of every ten Medicaid dollars goes toward the treatment of tobacco related illnesses.Indiana received failing grades in all areas except higher cigarette taxes where it scored a “D.”

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.