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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The American Lung Association is giving the nation’s top tobacco-producing state failing grades for efforts to curb the death and diseases caused by tobacco use.

North Carolina received straight “F” grades in the group’s annual State of Tobacco Control report released Thursday. The report looks at tobacco prevention and control spending, cessation, taxes and smoking restrictions.

The group says a significant increase in the state’s cigarette tax will save lives by reducing the number of kids who start smoking and help adults quit smoking. North Carolina’s tax is 45 cents per pack, one of the lowest in the nation.

No state received straight “A” grades in the report. North Carolina is joined by seven states, including South Carolina, in receiving failing grades in each category.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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