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Kentucky gets F's on tobacco policies

The American Lung Association gave Kentucky all F's for its policies on tobacco.

Like much of the Southeast, shown above, Kentucky got an F for its cigarette tax, which is 30 cents a pack. Democratic Governor Steve Beshear has proposed raising the tax 70 cents to $1. If he persuades the legislature to pass the tax, Kentucky will get a D.

That would be news. In the seven years of the report card, Kentucky has always received all F's. In addition to its tax rate, Kentucky got an F this year for its lack of smoke-free laws, the absence of Medicaid and state employee coverage for cessation programs, and the little money the state spends on tobacco prevention and control.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Kentucky spend $57.2 million a year; it actually spends $4.2 million.

Six other states got all F's this year. They were Alabama, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. No state got all A's.