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    Kentucky Is Top State for Smoking

    More Than 28% of Kentucky Residents Are Smokers; Utah Has the Least Smokers
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    March 12, 2009 -- Maybe they should call it the Blue Smoke State.

    Kentucky once again leads all states in the percentage of adults who still smoke cigarettes, according to state-by-state figures today released by the CDC.

    With 28.3% of adults smoking, Kentucky is way ahead of second-place West Virginia (27% smokers) and third-place Oklahoma (25.8% smokers).

    Utah holds its place as the state with the lowest adult smoking rate: 11.7%. It's the only state on track to meet the CDC's goal of reducing the U.S. smoking rate to 12%. Right now, nearly 20% of Americans still smoke.

    In half of U.S. states, more than 19.8% of adults smoke cigarettes. U.S. territories vary: Guam's smoking rate of 31.1% makes Kentuckians look like quitters, while the U.S. Virgin Islands beats even Utah with its 8.7% smoking rate.

    The CDC notes that this month is a good time to quit smoking: On April 1 -- yes, it's April Fools' Day, but this is no joke -- the federal tax on cigarettes will jump to $1.01 from the current rate of $0.39 per pack.

    Despite failing even to come close to CDC goals, smoking rates have declined since 1998 in 44 states and the District of Columbia. However, these gains are threatened.

    From 2002 to 2005, states cut funding for smoking prevention and cessation programs by 28% -- about $200 million.

    "In fiscal year 2009, no state is funding comprehensive tobacco control programs at CDC-recommended funding levels," the CDC reports. "Only nine states are funding at least half of the recommended amount."

    Meanwhile, the tobacco industry doubled marketing budgets from $6.9 billion in 1998 to $13.4 billion in 2005.

    Smoking: State-By-State Ranking

    Here are the state-by-state smoking rates -- that is, the percentage of adults who currently smoke every day or some days. Note that the CDC does not rank states; rank order was determined by WebMD on the basis of the CDC data for each state's total smoking rate.

    State/Territory

    Rank

    Men

    Women

    Total

    Kentucky

    1

    28.8

    27.8

    28.3

    West Virginia

    2

    28.6

    25.5

    27.0

    Oklahoma

    3

    28.0

    23.8

    25.8

    Missouri

    4

    26.0

    23.3

    24.6

    Tennessee

    5

    25.7

    22.9

    24.3

    Indiana

    6

    25.9

    22.4

    24.1

    Mississippi

    7

    27.8

    20.5

    24.0

    Ohio

    8

    24.2

    22.1

    23.1

    North Carolina

    9

    25.3

    20.7

    22.9

    Louisiana

    10

    26.4

    19.1

    22.6

    Alabama

    11

    25.7

    19.7

    22.5

    Arkansas

    12

    24.8

    20.2

    22.4

    Alaska

    13

    24.6

    19.7

    22.2

    Wyoming

    14

    22.8

    21.4

    22.1

    South Carolina

    15

    25.3

    18.8

    21.9

    Nevada

    16

    23.4

    19.6

    21.5

    Michigan

    17

    23.5

    19.0

    21.2

    North Dakota

    18

    22.2

    19.8

    21.0

    Pennsylvania

    19

    20.7

    21.1

    20.9

    New Mexico

    20

    23.6

    18.1

    20.8

    Illinois

    21

    22.1

    18.4

    20.2

    Maine

    22

    21.0

    19.3

    20.1

    Nebraska

    23

    23.2

    16.8

    19.9

    Arizona

    24

    23.4

    16.3

    19.8

    Iowa

    25

    21.4

    18.3

    19.8

    South Dakota

    26

    20.1

    19.5

    19.8

    Wisconsin

    27

    19.6

    19.5

    19.6

    Montana

    28

    19.8

    19.3

    19.5

    New Hampshire

    29

    20.2

    18.6

    19.4

    Texas

    30

    22.0

    16.9

    19.4

    Florida

    31

    21.3

    17.5

    19.3

    Georgia

    32

    21.2

    17.5

    19.3

    Idaho

    33

    20.9

    17.4

    19.2

    Delaware

    34

    17.6

    20.3

    19.0

    New York

    35

    21.6

    16.5

    18.9

    Colorado

    36

    19.7

    17.7

    18.7

    Virginia

    37

    20.3

    16.9

    18.6

    Kansas

    38

    18.7

    17.1

    17.9

    Vermont

    39

    19.5

    15.9

    17.6

    District of Columbia

    40

    19.1

    15.7

    17.3

    New Jersey

    41

    19.4

    15.2

    17.2

    Maryland

    42

    18.4

    16.0

    17.1

    Hawaii

    43

    19.8

    14.3

    17.0

    Rhode Island

    44

    17.8

    16.3

    17.0

    Oregon

    45

    18.9

    14.9

    16.9

    Washington

    46

    18.0

    15.7

    16.8

    Minnesota

    47

    18.3

    14.7

    16.5

    Massachusetts

    48

    17.4

    15.5

    16.4

    Connecticut

    49

    16.6

    14.5

    15.5

    California

    50

    18.1

    10.6

    14.3

    Utah

    51

    15.5

    8.0

    11.7

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