Cigarette smoking cigarettes in Ohio is increasing again, after years of hard-won progress. That's alarming.

Politicians in Columbus are rushing to pass a budget that would spend no money to enforce the state's popular ban on indoor smoking cigarettes, and almost nothing on successful programs that help Ohioans quit smoking cigarettes and prevent young people from starting. That's unconscionable.

A new report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that 22.5 percent of Ohio adults smoked last year, up from 20.3 percent in 2009. Smokers make up more than 40 percent of people enrolled in the state's Medicaid program, which provides health insurance -- at a high cost to taxpayers -- to poor, sick, and disabled Ohioans.

Plenty of factors are at work in our state's rising rate of smoking cigarettes. But one of them surely is state government's chronic looting of money from the national cigarettes settlement that was intended to pay for smoking cigarettes cessation and prevention programs.

Various proposals for the next two-year budget that state lawmakers are working to pass this month allocate nothing for enforcement of the state's Smoke-Free Workplace Act, which bans smoking cigarettes at work sites and in bars and restaurants. If the state Health Department can't take and act on public complaints about violations of the law, and local health departments can't crack down on offenders, the law becomes virtually meaningless.

A big majority of voters approved the ban five years ago, and polls suggest that it has become even more popular over time. But Gov. John Kasich and the Republican majorities in the General Assembly appear to be listening harder to a handful of disgruntled bar owners who insist that polluted air is vital to the survival of their businesses.

At the same time, the governor and lawmakers propose spending only negligible amounts on such proven programs as the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line, which helps one of every three participants to stop smoking cigarettes, and on state, school, and community efforts to prevent young people from becoming addicted to tobacco.

Public-health groups such as the American Lung Association of Ohio make a compelling case that a big increase in the state's $1.25-a-pack cigarette tax would save state government lots of money on health-care costs -- and, by the way, save 61,500 Ohioans from premature deaths.

Greater worker productivity and reduced medical costs for employers are among the business-friendly values that Columbus routinely touts. But the knee-jerk no-taxers who now run state government have no interest in a higher cigarette tax, even though polls show Ohioans support it.

Short of that, lawmakers at least could eliminate senseless discrepancies in how Ohio taxes cigarettes and other tobacco products. They could crack down on illegal cigarette sales and tobacco tax evasion, and eliminate unneeded tobacco tax credits. Such things would raise money to pay for anti-smoking cigarettes programs and to enforce a law approved by voters.

Smoking costs Ohio $4.37 billion a year in health-care expenses. The burden on the state Medicaid program from smoking cigarettes-related illnesses is $1.4 billion.

GOP lawmakers and Mr. Kasich can take small but meaningful steps in the budget they enact to cut these costs. Or they can make clear that not even Ohioans' good health will get in the way of their narrow political ideology.

Very Important Notice: top Style article.