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Consumer Confidential: Smoking prevention, dumb passwords

November 30, 2011 |  8:45 am

Here's your waltzing-Matilda Wednesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Tough economic times mean less smoking prevention. States have cut funding for tobacco prevention programs 12% this year, to the lowest level since 1999, according to a new report from a coalition of public health groups. States will collect $25.6 billion in tobacco taxes and legal settlements from the tobacco industry this fiscal year. But they will spend just 1.8% of that on programs to prevent or stop tobacco use. That's about 12% of the $3.7 billion the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia are spending less than a quarter of the amount recommended by the CDC. In contrast, tobacco companies spent $10.5 billion to market their products in 2008, the most recent year tracked by the Federal Trade Commission. (Associated Press)

--A word to the wise: Don't be dumb with your passwords. They're generally the one thing standing between the bad guys and your email, network access, bank accounts and all the other personal and corporate resources you use every day. Yet many people still use passwords like these: password, 123456, qwerty, abc123, monkey, 1234567, letmein, 111111, iloveyou, master, sunshine, passw0rd, shadow, 123123, 654321, superman and qazwsx. This list was compiled by security company SplashData from lists of passwords posted online by hackers. What should you use instead? Something that's not to obvious. Also, something that doesn't connect to you personally, such as the name of a spouse or pet. And try to mix in a few numbers to boot. Why make things easier for hackers than they already are? (MoneyWatch)

-- David Lazarus