FORT MYERS, Fla.-- A report released Thursday by the American Lung Association gives Florida an "F" for its efforts to prevent smoking and help current smokers quit.
The State of Tobacco Control report criticizes the Sunshine State for not spending enough money to promote smoking prevention.
The study also finds state insurance regulations don't adequately cover cessation programs.
The Sunshine State gets a "D" for its cigarette tax. The tax rate per pack of 20 cigarettes in Florida is $1.339. New York, which has the highest rate, taxes each pack at $4.25. But some say an added cost would do little to curb smoking anyway.
"When it comes to a physiological addiction, money is not necessarily the biggest deterrent. It's a combination of things," said Diane Holm of the Lee County Health Department.
Holm says the local health department does what it can with the money it's allocated from the state. The Lee County Health Department offers free tobacco cessation products and counseling while promoting a smoke-free lifestyle through a public service campaign in local schools.
There was one bright spot in the report. Florida got a "B" for smoke-free air thanks to a big push to ban smoking in government buildings, schools, and restaurants.
For help kicking the habit, click here: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chdLee/healthpromotion/tobacco.html