In the past several years, thanks to increased awareness and stricter public smoking laws, cigarette smoking has been on the decline. In fact, less than 20% of adults over the age of 18 smoked in 2010!
However, some people still aren't taking the hint thanks to their state's lack of interest in promoting healthy breathing.
Arkansas - 23% of adults smoke (almost 4% more than the national average)
Indiana - The best place to breathe in second-hand smoke! There are no rules about smoking in restaurants, bars, private work sites, or recreational facilities, which prompted the American Lung Association to give the state a big, fat "F" in the smoke-free air department.
Kentucky - Not only is this state one of the leading producers of tobacco, but it is the leading producer of smokers too! Sure, it only has the SECOND-HIGHEST adult smoking rate in the US, but it is the cream of the crop for smoking-related deaths. We imagine the killer side-effects of cigarettes start pretty young since the the smoking rate among high schoolers is the highest in the country.
Louisiana - As the headquarters for Mardi Gras, this state loves to party, which often leads to a love of smoking. The state currently prohibits smoking in restaurants, public buildings, and most work sites, but they can't get support to ban cigarettes from bars — a setting in which people are most likely to light up.
Mississippi - Not only does this state allow smoking in restaurants and nongovernment public buildings, but it is one of three states without any restrictions on smoking at child-care facilities! Ugh! So heartbreaking! Some states don't even allow smoking in vehicles with passengers under 18!
Missouri - According to the CDC, a 10% price hike can reduce the amount of cigarettes consumed by about 4%. Unfortunately, the news must not have gotten out to this state nestled comfortably in middle America. Cigarettes are at their cheapest here with only a $0.17 state tax on each pack (compared to the $4.35 tax imposed by New York).
Oklahoma - In the birthplace of the Marlboro Man, smoking-related deaths are among the highest in the nation. No one seems to be noticing because the quitting rates are among the lowest in the nation!
South Carolina - This southern state is no Missouri, but they only tack on an extra $0.57 per cigarette pack and offer no smoking restrictions in restaurants, bars, private work sites, and retail stores.
Tennessee - Since this is another state in which farmers make a living by growing tobacco, it's not surprising that the state spending in 2007 for anti-smoking programs was lower than the CDC's recommended amount — but by 97%!? That's right, the state only spent 3% of the recommended amount necessary to educate people on the dangers of smoking! Oh yeah, and the state is among the worst in the number of packs sold per capita, as well as the rate of smoking-related deaths.
West Virginia - This state not only boasts the highest number of adult smokers (27%), but the smokers are also buying the most cigarettes. The average West Virginian smoker buys 113 packs a year compared to smokers in Washington D.C. buying 23 packs per year. On top of wasting money on their excessive cigarette habit, these folks are paying the ultimate price. West Virginia has the second highest rate of deaths attributable to lung cancer with roughly 90% of the cases caused by smoking!
[Image via WENN.]