This article in today’s Washington Post illustrates how money that exists to support smoking-cessation programs in rural areas is being diverted by state governments into other funding priorities, while tobacco companies target rural and poor populations. Levels of smoking and all its health problems remain disproportionately high for the rural poor. As reflected in the article, smoking is a response to multiple layers of life stress, which ironically often include chronic health problems. In fact, chronic stress is at the root of many of the issues that impact children’s ability to learn in school – crime, drug abuse, mental illness, poverty, hunger, unsafe neighborhoods, etc. Let’s make sure our state leaders address the root of the problem, and not just the band aid measures addressing the results of chronic stress: children’s behavior and learning issues.