More than One in Four Adults Still Smoking in Eight States

Despite the accumulation of scientific evidence and years of public education campaigns around the dangers of tobacco use, it is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States according to the CDC. One in every five deaths is related to cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke – 443,000 lives a year. The cost is staggering – reaching nearly $100 billion to treat smoking caused diseases.

The percent of adults who reported smoking in 2011 varied from a low of 11.8 percent in Utah to a high of 29 percent in Kentucky. Along with Kentucky, more than one in four  adults smoke in eight other states – Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia. Nationally, 18.1 percent of adults report smoking. Youth smoking rates are lower – 13.1 nationally – with just six states posting rates of 20 percent or higher.

Percent Adult Smokers by State, 2011

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tobacco Control State Highlights 2012, January 2013.

Tobacco Control State Highlights 2012, just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides the latest state statistics on smoking rates for adults and youth and tobacco control policies in place in the states (including tobacco taxes). Other highlights from the report include:

  • 26 states and D.C. that have passed comprehensive smoke-free laws ;
  • 6 states – Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming – have no statewide smoke-free policy to protect their citizens from secondhand smoke;
  • the national median for state cigarette taxes as of June 30, 2012 was $1.34. The range was from $4.35 per pack in New York to $0.17 per pack in Missouri.

The CDC says that combined interventions – increasing the price of tobacco products, implementing smoke-free policies, implementing mass media advertising campaigns, restricting tobacco advertising and promotion, controlling access to tobacco products, and promoting and assisting smokers to quit – are proven to significantly reduce smoking.