California - like all but a few other states - was given an "F" for its spending on anti-smoking campaigns. The Centers for Disease Control says California should be spending nearly $442 million a year, but it spends only $89.7 million, all of which comes from cigarette taxes and federal allocations.
It also gets a "D" for its relatively low level of cigarette taxes, 87 cents a pack, and another "F" for its laws and regulations compelling health insurers to cover smoking cessation treatment. Nationwide, cigarette taxes range from $4.35 a pack in New York to 17 cents in Missouri.
The lung association is one of the sponsors of a ballot measure -- which could face voters as early as June -- that would would raise the tobacco tax by $1 a pack to fund cancer research and smoking prevention programs.
Overall, the ALA says, California has 235 annual deaths per 100,000 population attributed to smoking, roughly in the middle of the states. The lowest rate of smoking deaths is in Utah, 138.3, and the highest is in adjacent Nevada, 343.7.
The full Lung Association report may be found here.
PHOTO CREDIT:Carmen Werle smokes a cigarette on her lunch break outside the Department of Justice in Sacramento on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Kyle Grantham/Sacramento Bee.