Kevin Blank, For The Miami Student

Ohio received an “F” on the American Lung Association report card for 2011. The state was lacking on the amount of money spent on tobacco prevention and cessation for the year.

The state of Ohio spent just 2.1 percent of what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends states spend on tobacco prevention. Ohio spent less on tobacco prevention than any other state except for New Jersey, according to the report. The American Lung Association estimated that Ohio lost around $9 billion on issues caused by the use of tobacco, according to their annual “State of Tobacco Control” report. Furthermore, the state has a 22.5% adult smoking rate and 18,590 deaths in 2011 attributed to smoking. The report claims that the state spent little of their $3 million total funding by the state and federal government given for preventing and controlling smoking “The state has spent no money on tobacco prevention and cessation, this is what really drives smoking rates up,” Shelly Kiser, spokesperson for the American Lung Association in Ohio said.

Kiser believes the cigarette tax that went into effect in 2009 could be a way to clean up the mess and get Ohio back above a passing grade. “Five percent of the current cigarette tax would be enough to fund tobacco prevention and cessation in the state,” Kiser said.

Kiser also thought it would be wise to tax other forms of tobacco the same as cigarettes. Young adults from the ages of 18-24 are being targeted to use other forms of tobacco such as hookah, cigarillos, cigars, chew and dip. “If the state were to raise the tax on these forms of tobacco, it would be highly beneficial and motivate at least some of the users to quit,” Kisey said. Students seem to be taken aback by the poor grade given to Ohio. “I was surprised since Ohio is such a big state,” Miami University senior Emma Mestler said. “I would have assumed it would have been more capable of spending a decent amount of money on smoking prevention.”