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State gets poor grades for tobacco control

The American Lung Association has given Wisconsin poor grades for its tobacco control.

The Badger State got an "F" for providing smoke-free air, by not approving a statewide public indoor smoking ban.

Wisconsin also got an "F" in its coverage of medications, counseling and other efforts to get smokers to quit.

The state got a "C" for its cigarette tax, despite raising it by a dollar a year ago to $1.77 a pack.

Wisconsin did get a "B" for its spending on smoking prevention and cessation. That's for the state's Tobacco Quit Line which now provides a supply of free medicines to give prospective quitters a good start.

The hotline got a record 40,000 calls last year.

Dr. Michael Fiore of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Tobacco Research still spends much less than the suggested federal minimum on tobacco control programs - about $15 million a year.

But he says the big problem is that Wisconsin still doesn't have a statewide workplace smoking ban, although legislators say it's on their to-do list for this year.