Saw something in the paper late last week about smoking rates. After more than a decade of steady declines, it seems they've leveled off. The numbers indicate that roughly 20 percent of Americans still light up – give or take a teenager.

The experts blamed reduced spending on prevention programs and increased advertising by the tobacco industry. Either way, while most local and state governments have done their part banning the sticks inside, it just isn't hip to bash smokers anymore.

Doesn't really matter. The bottom line is that, in this new age of consumer-driven and consumer-responsible health care, smoking cessation must top the list of any reasonable wellness program. (Obesity's up there, too, but that's another column.)

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