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VW plant holds grand opening
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CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Volkswagen is jumping into the U.S. auto market with a new Passat that is bigger, cheaper and built domestically in hopes of breaking into the competitive midsize sedan market.During a grand opening for its new plant in Chattanooga on Tuesday, the German automaker presented the 2012 Passat as the key to building U.S. sales to 1 million units by 2018. The factory has been producing cars since April and Volkswagen officials took the opportunity to show off both their German-designed sedan and the plant.The new Passat will go on sale in the third quarter for $20,000, about $7,000 cheaper than current models built in Germany, and close to competitors' prices like the Ford Fusion, the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord and the Hyundai Sonata.• • • • •FRANKLIN (AP) — Williamson County has the lowest percentage of smokers in Tennessee, with 15 percent of adults choosing to light up.That figure puts the county directly on the national smoking benchmark of 15 percent.The National Center for Health Statistics, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, reports that across Tennessee, 24 percent of adults smoke.The counties with the highest number of smokers were Jefferson, Lauderdale and Monroe. In all three counties, 38 percent of the population age 18 and older smoke tobacco products.In Warren County, 26 percent of adults are smokers.Williamson Medical Center pulmonologist Aaron Milstone says for every pack of cigarettes smoked by a person, it trims roughly three hours off their life.Even while watching their health decline, smokers often find it hard to quit.