A report by the American Lung Association gives Missouri straight Fs for the third year in a row on the State of Tobacco Control Report Card.
And it’s not just because Missourians smoke more than other Americans.
Victoria Warren is the Program Coordinator for comprehensive tobacco control program for the Department of Health and Senior Services.
She says several factors contribute to Missouri’s failing grade, but that a lot of it comes down to funding.
She says aside from health coverage, Missouri lacks enough funding for youth programs, smoking cessation programs, hotlines and more.
Also, communities that have gone smoke-free are seeing fewer kids start smoking, leading to a decrease in adult smokers in the future.
That means they won’t be having health issues related to smoking later on in life.
Warren says it takes a lot of effort to get communities to go smoke-free because businesses fear it will have a negative economic impact, but that studies show it does not.
The Tobacco Control Report card shows Missouri has the lowest state excise tax in the nation at 17 cents per pack — the national average is $1.19.
Within the state, Nodaway county has lowest smoking rate in Missouri — about 14 percent. Taney County tops the list. More than 40 percent of the population smokes there.