A new report from the American Lung Association on the tobacco battle gives New Jersey mixed grades.

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The report, "State of Tobacco Control 2014," says New Jersey spends no money on education to prevent the habit from catching on with the young, making it the only state that gives zero dollars to tobacco control programs.

"The most important thing is that New Jersey really needs to step up to the plate and provide prevention and cessation funding," said Deb Brown, CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. "In New Jersey, 168,000 children now under age 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking."

The Lung Association's report tracks yearly progress on key tobacco control policies at the federal and state level, assigning grades based on whether laws are adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy, according to a press release.

New Jersey got an A for its law providing smoke-free air in the workplace and a B for its tobacco tax, which is high.  The state received a failing grade in two categories:  funding for tobacco prevention and control programs and cessation coverage.

The Lung Association is calling for action by government at all levels to achieve three goals:

  • Reduce smoking rates, right now around 18 percent, to less than 10 percent in a decade.
  • Protect the entire population from secondhand smoke within five years.
  • Eliminate the death and disease caused by tobacco use.

Approximately 11,201 deaths in New Jersey are caused by tobacco yearly.