John Kasich got it right in his State of the State address on Monday evening: Not too long ago Ohio ranked among the leading states in its efforts to reduce smoking. The governor wants to begin the work of restoring its standing. He proposes to spend $35 million during the next five years on tobacco prevention, cessation and enforcement programs.

That isnít the $35 million to $40 million a year the state spent nearly a decade ago. Then, the recession hit, and the Statehouse scrambled to plug a widening budget deficit, tapping anti-smoking money to aid in the cause.

Soon, the state had pared back prevention and cessation to a tiny sum, and there the commitment has remained, unfortunately. No surprise that the subsequent years brought an increase in the stateís smoking rate, now at 23.3 percent, above the national average of 19 percent.

As the governor stressed, anti-smoking programs amount to a smart investment, saving money as they reduce health-care costs and improve the health of Ohioans. And then there is a step that promises to strengthen further the effort: Add substantially to the state cigarette tax, at $1.25, the 29th highest among the states.