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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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