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Nonprofit gives Virginia failing grade for handling of tobacco

FILE - In this Saturday, March 2, 2013, photo, a cigarette burns in an ashtray at a home in Hayneville, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
FILE - In this Saturday, March 2, 2013, photo, a cigarette burns in an ashtray at a home in Hayneville, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

NBC29 – (NBC 29) - Report cards are out and the state of Virginia gets an "F," according to one nonprofit, when it comes to the state's handling of cigarettes and tobacco.

As far as helping people quit, taxes, and clean air, Virginia gets a failing grade on all fronts, according to the American Lung Association.

The nonprofit rated every state on how it deals with tobacco. Virginia was among just five states that failed in every category.

For instance, the organizations research showed Virginia budgeted more than $8 million for tobacco control problems, just 11 percent of the Centers for Disease Control recommendation.

"Right now in the commonwealth we spend $3.11 billion annually on health care costs attributed to the use of tobacco, so we need to look at that, certainly from a health care cost perspective. But I think the most important thing is that we need to remind ourselves that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in this country," said Deb Brown, American Lung Association CEO.

Keep in mind Virginia fails all the American Lung Association's test categories, despite banning smoking in restaurants, bars, childcare facilities and government buildings.

The American Lung Association also wants to see Virginia put more money toward programs dedicated to preventing and quitting smoking. It also wants to see Virginia join California, Hawaii and Washington D.C. in raising the smoking age to 21.


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