The American Lung Association gave Montana a report card that we wouldn't want to show to our parents. The subject wasn't math or English, it was Tobacco. Of the five categories the association grades, Big Sky Country failed three. The "State of Tobacco Control" report, released at the beginning of the month, gave an overview of the nation and then got to the individual states.

The lung association said that tobacco use is the lading cause of preventable death. And they have seen some positive progress toward limiting or even ending the use of tobacco products. For instance, Montana has a Clean Indoor Air law, which helps in public places.

The Montana Report Card:

  • Funding for State Tobacco Control Programs - "F"
  • Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws - "A"
  • Level of State Tobacco Taxes - "F"
  • Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco - "B"
  • Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products - "F"
  • Smoking in the state is at a 16 percent rate and the disturbing finding is that high school tobacco use is at about 33 percent. Carrie Nyssen, Senior Director of Advocacy at Montana's American Lung Association, said in a news release, "While we have seen progress in Montana, tobacco use remains our leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated 570 lives each year...Youth use of electronic cigarettes is an epidemic. Nearly half of all Montana high school students have tried electronic cigarettes, and over one-quarter of students currently use electronic cigarettes. We can do better."

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    The report's national U.S. government grades were not much better, with an "A" for media campaigns, but two "D's," "an "F" in the other sections, and an "Incomplete" in the category to change the minimum age for sale of tobacco products to 21. You can find out more at their website.

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