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| Poor marks from lung association lead to renewed calls for tax hike|
Jump to full article: Toledo (OH) Blade, 2012-01-20
Author: JIM PROVANCE BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF
Once a national leader in the battle against tobacco, Ohio has surrendered some of its hard-fought gains, anti-smoking activists argued Thursday.
In the wake of a poor report card from the American Lung Association, Ohio activists renewed their call for hikes in tobacco-related taxes to fund smoking cessation programs and to keep the toll-free, state-run Quitline in operation.
In last year's budget, state lawmakers continued funding for enforcement of the voter-approved ban on smoking at bars, restaurants, offices, and other indoor public venues.
But funding for cessation programs disappeared once the Ohio Supreme Court ruled two years ago that the state could seize tobacco settlement funds from a foundation it created and use the money for other purposes.
"Last year, we were on life support," said Shelly Kiser, advocacy director of the American Lung Association in Ohio. "This year, lawmakers pulled the plug."
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