Kentucky Highest in Adult Smokers

Adult Smokers Are Least Common in the U.S. Virgin Islands

From the WebMD Archives

Sept. 27, 2007 -- Adult smokers were most common in Kentucky and rarest in the U.S. Virgin Islands last year, according to a new CDC report.

The CDC today released state-by-state statistics on the percentage of adult smokers nationwide who smoked cigarettes in 2006. The data show wide variation in the prevalence of adult smokers, including nearly a threefold gap between Kentucky and Utah (the state with the lowest percentage of adult smokers).

Here is the full list of smoking statistics. Places with the same percentage of smokers are listed together.

  1. Kentucky: 28.6%
  2. West Virginia: 25.7%
  3. Mississippi and Oklahoma: 25.1%
  4. Alaska: 24.2%
  5. Indiana: 24.1%
  6. Arkansas: 23.7%
  7. Louisiana: 23.4%
  8. Alabama and Missouri: 23.3%
  9. Tennessee: 22.6%
  10. Ohio: 22.5%
  11. Michigan: 22.4%
  12. South Carolina: 22.3%
  13. Nevada: 22.2%
  14. North Carolina: 22.1%
  15. Delaware: 21.7%
  16. Wyoming: 21.6%
  17. Iowa and Pennsylvania: 21.5%
  18. Florida: 21%
  19. Maine: 20.9%
  20. Wisconsin: 20.8%
  21. Illinois: 20.5%
  22. South Dakota: 20.4%
  23. New Mexico: 20.2%
  24. Georgia and Kansas: 20%
  25. North Dakota: 19.6%
  26. Rhode Islandand Virginia:19.3%
  27. Montana: 19%
  28. New Hampshire: 18.7%
  29. Nebraska: 18.6%
  30. Oregon: 18.5%
  31. Minnesota and New York: 18.3%
  32. Arizona, New Jersey, and Texas: 18.1%
  33. Vermont: 18%
  34. Colorado and Washington, D.C.: 17.9%
  35. Maryland and Massachusetts: 17.8%
  36. Hawaii: 17.5%
  37. Washington: 17.1%
  38. Connecticut: 17%
  39. Idaho: 16.8%
  40. California: 14.9%
  41. Puerto Rico: 12.5%
  42. Utah: 9.8%
  43. U.S. Virgin Islands: 9.1%

Data came from a nationwide telephone survey of 355,710 civilian adults not living in institutions.

Young Adult Smokers

The CDC's latest smoking includes details on young adults aged 18-35.

Why the special focus on that age group? Because people who quit smoking before age 35 "have a life expectancy similar to that of those who never smoked," the CDC states. Of course, the CDC advises people to quit smoking at any age.

Smoking prevalence rates for young adults ranged from a high of 31% in Kentucky to about 8% of those in the U.S. Virgin Islands.


More than half of the young adult smokers -- nearly 59% -- said they had tried to quit smoking in the past year, and most didn't succeed.

"Only one-third of these younger adult smokers are successfully quitting in the age range where they can really minimize their chances of developing a smoking-related disease," the CDC's Corinne Husten, MD, tells WebMD.

"They want to quit, they're trying to quit, and we obviously need to do a lot more to help them be successful," says Husten, who is the chief of the epidemiology branch of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health.

If you want to quit smoking -- no matter what your age is -- here are some tips from the U.S. government's quit-smoking web site,, to help you prepare.

  • Set a date to quit smoking.
  • Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit smoking.
  • Anticipate and plan for the challenges you'll face while quitting smoking.
  • Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and workplace.
  • Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit smoking.

Many people try several times before quitting smoking for good. But health experts say it's worth it, since smoking makes heart disease, cancer, and many other serious health problems more likely.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on September 27, 2007


SOURCES: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Sept. 28, 2007; vol 56: pp 993-996. Corinne Husten, MD, Chief, Epidemiology Branch, Office of Smoking and Health, CDC. "Online Guide to Quitting: Preparing to Quit." News release, CDC.

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