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Minnesota falls in national smoking rankings

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State health officials say Minnesota has slipped four spots in a recent federal survey of adult smokers, the Pioneer Press reports.

Minnesota placed 11th in 2011 in the nationwide ranking, down from 7th place in 2009. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 19 percent of adults in the state smoke, which is slightly better than the median rate of 21.2 percent.

Utah ranks no. 1 with 11.8 percent of adults who smoke, while Kentucky has the highest rate at 29 percent.

Gov. Mark Dayton proposed an additional cigarette tax of 94 cents as part of his two-year budget plan. The proposed tax would not only increase state revenue, but would likely curb smoking rates.

"The cost of tobacco in terms of lives and about $2.87 billion in annual medical costs is too high. We must reduce this toll on our families and our state and one of the most effective ways to curb youth smoking is to raise the price," Dr. Edward Ehlinger, state Health Commissioner, said in statement Tuesday.

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